In 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General reported 180,000 deaths across the nation due to medical errors among Medicare beneficiaries alone. The expectation is that this number is significantly higher today, especially when including all U.S. hospital admissions. Most of these errors fall within one of these categories: misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect medication prescription or dosage, and obstetric or gynecological error.
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common among these errors, which often occurs as a result of negligence and flawed thought process, rather than a uniqueness in the condition or disease. These types of errors tend not to garner the same kind of publicity as surgical errors with their nightmarish horror stories of wrongly amputated limbs or surgical tools left within the body of a patient, but this can be just as damaging and potentially deadly. Diagnostic errors can be more complicated and might not be detected for years to come, if at all.
Incorrect medication prescriptions and dosages can stem from an error on the part of the physician, nurse, or an error from a pharmacist or pharmacy staff. It may be an incorrectly labeled medication or dispensing of a wrong one. According to the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, medication errors harm at least 1.5 million people annually.
Childbirth-related errors include a wide range, from negligence during prenatal care to negligence during childbirth. Some of the most common mistakes include a failure to recognize signs of a high risk pregnancy, failure to identify ectopic pregnancies, improper use of delivery-assistance tools, and failure to respond in time to signs of fetal distress. Many of these errors often lead to lifelong conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Keen & Littky-Rubin, we handle a variety of cases in different practice areas, including medical malpractice. Our Florida attorneys are prepared to embrace complex and difficult cases many others choose not to handle. Call us for a free consultation at 561-922-0258.