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Five Common Consequences of Medical Malpractice

Five Common Consequences of Medical Malpractice

 When you seek medical treatment for some ailment or injury, you expect to be treated with utmost care by your doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. However, sometimes those medical professionals fail to perform their duties as they are intended to, resulting in harm to the patients they are treating, and possible medical malpractice. Here are five common ways that people can be harmed because of medical malpractice:

Failure to diagnose

One of the most common ways doctors and other medical professionals can harm their patients is by failing to diagnose a medical condition in a timely manner. Either they never diagnose the ailment harming them, or they do not diagnose it right away, leading to treatment being delayed or simply never being administered. This increases the likelihood of medical complications and long-term side effects, increases the cost of care, and can sometimes result in the patient dying unnecessarily from a treatable condition. A failure to diagnose, therefore, can be extraordinarily dangerous, and should be addressed as soon as it is discovered.


Related to the failure to diagnose, a misdiagnosis is when a medical professional correctly recognizes that there is something wrong with a patient but diagnoses it as the wrong condition. Also like a failure to diagnose, this could lead a medical professional to fail to administer the correct treatment, but unlike the failure to diagnose, it means it's more likely that they will administer a treatment that is inadequate or unsuitable for their actual ailment. Thus, not only will their medical condition not be properly treated, but they will be suffering from the side effects of whatever treatment they are administered. In extreme cases, this can result in unnecessary surgeries for a condition they do not suffer from.

Unnecessary or incorrect treatment

Even when a medical professional diagnoses an ailment correctly, that does not mean they will administer the correct treatment for that ailment. For one reason or another, people will sometimes be prescribed medication that is inappropriate for their ailment, or unnecessary for whatever ailment they are suffering from. For example, this might mean prescribing a painkiller for a patient who is not experiencing substantial pain or performing an appendectomy on a patient not currently suffering from appendicitis. Even in the best-case scenario, this saddles patients with unnecessary medical expenses and the potential side effects of whatever treatment was administered to them, but in the worst-case scenarios, it can result in severe harm and long-term health complications.

Surgical errors

Every surgery, no matter how minor, carries a degree of risk with it, even when the surgeon and their assistants do everything right. However, everyone makes mistakes, which can be unfortunate if a surgeon makes a mistake while you are under the knife. Even a minor surgical error can cause exceptional harm, causing you to potentially require additional surgeries to repair the error and increasing the amount of time you need to spend convalescing. For example, a shockingly common surgical error involves leaving a surgical instrument, such as a scalpel or medical sponge, inside the patient. Another issue that occasionally comes up is operating on the wrong part of a body, such as performing a knee replacement on your good knee while leaving your bad knee intact. Whatever the reason for the error, it is the patient whom ultimately pays the price.

Failure to warn

In the case of a failure to warn, the doctor themselves did not make any errors in terms of diagnosing your condition or administering your treatment. Instead, they failed to inform you adequately of potential side effects that might arise from your chosen course of treatment, which may have impacted your choice of treatment had you known about it beforehand. This has a substantial impact on what is known as informed consent, which is legally required before any medical treatment can be administered. Withholding this information increases the risk of side effects and makes it more likely you will agree to a course of treatment that you would not have accepted if you fully understood the risks involved.
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