Medical malpractice is shockingly common. According to figures by the Journal of the American Medical Association, it is the third most common cause of death in the US, after heart problems and cancer. Many of the errors recur repeatedly and are preventable. Here are some of the most common errors and how to avoid them.
Misdiagnosis or Late Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a serious medical condition are the most common types of medical malpractice. Typically, these are caused by not listening to patient symptoms, failure to request diagnostic tests, improperly reading tests or not reading them at all.
How to Protect Yourself: Get a second opinion if you think your doctor isn’t taking your condition seriously. The most common missed diagnoses are heart attack and cancer, so it’s important for you to take this seriously. A good doctor won’t be offended if you want a second opinion and may recommend someone to see.
Medication errors may be even more common than misdiagnosis, but they don’t always lead to serious consequences. Still, medication errors can lead to permanent tissue damage, additional medical treatment, and even death.
How to Protect Yourself: Know your meds. Make sure you know what medications you are being given, the doses, and how frequently. Read the warning labels to understand when side effects might be risky for you and medications that may interact with each other.
Childbirth injuries are tragic because they can lead to a lifetime injury to your child. They are also often preventable when doctors and nurses have proper training and are in good condition to help with the birth.
How to Protect Yourself: Talk to your doctor early about risks associated with your pregnancy. Talk about birth preferences. And make sure that doctors and nurses are in a good physical and mental state to attend your birth. Meet and be prepared to work with a hospital OB/GYN rather than call your doctor out in the middle of the night or at the end of a 24-hour shift.
There are two main types of surgical errors: anesthesia errors and surgical mistakes. Both can lead to permanent injury or death. Brain damage is a common result of anesthesia errors.
How to Protect Yourself: Make sure an anesthesiologist will be attending on your surgery. Talk to them about your risk factors and make sure they’ve accounted for them. Meet your surgeon before the surgery and make sure he/she understands the procedure that you’re undergoing.
Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
If you suspect you may have suffered as a result of medical malpractice in New Jersey, please contact us for a free initial consultation. We can help you understand whether you’ve been affected by medical malpractice, and what steps to take next.