Operating on the wrong extremity. Leaving a piece of equipment inside a patient after surgery. Failing to diagnose an illness. All are nightmare situations for a patient. But all are among the most-common types of medical negligence taking place in America today.
“Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient,” states Medical News Today. “
Other instances of medical negligence arise when a doctor does not tell a patient about the risks of a procedure or the outcomes of a course of treatment. In legal terms, such duties are called informed consent.
“Informed consent is based on the moral and legal premise of patient autonomy: You as the patient have the right to make decisions about your own health and medical conditions,” according to the WebMD site eMedicineHeath. “You must give your voluntary, informed consent for treatment and for most medical tests and procedures.”
Improper care constitutes a third type of medical negligence. Improper care can range from a doctor incompetently treating a patient even though the doctor administered the correct protocol or, alternatively, did not administer the correct protocol.
Here are a few more facts about medical negligence from the Medical Malpractice Center.
- Between 15,000 and 19,000 lawsuits are filed annually in U.S. courts on behalf of patients pursuing claims.
- One in three patients in any hospital will become a victim of an unfortunate error during his or her stay.
- Upward of 195,000 patients – some statistics put the number at 250,000 – die in medical institutions every year due to mistakes that largely are preventable.
Bottom line: Medical negligence is a serious issue within the healthcare community with even more serious ramifications for those who have been harmed or might be in the future.
“Human beings practice medicine, and as we all know, human beings make mistakes, and when that happens in a medical context, people can either get injured or killed,” explains Florida attorney Brian Denney, of Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart and Shipley. “Most commonly, that happens when a medical provider violates or falls below the medical standard of care.”