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Understanding Different Types of Medical Malpractice

In 2021 alone, Pennsylvania witnessed 1,460 medical malpractice lawsuits, with 343 of these cases originating in Philadelphia. All medical malpractice claims stem from the legal concept of negligence, and within this realm, various forms of negligence can give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Let’s explore some of the more common types of medical malpractice cases encountered at Quinn Law Group:

1. Failure to Diagnose:

  • Commonality: Failure to diagnose represents one of the most prevalent forms of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania.
  • Definition: This occurs when a healthcare provider fails to accurately diagnose a serious medical condition. Examples include cancer, heart attacks, and fetal defects.
  • Malpractice Determination: A failure to diagnose alone may not constitute medical malpractice. To establish malpractice, the patient must demonstrate that they suffered harm due to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis. For instance, if a physician fails to diagnose cancer at an early stage, causing it to progress to a more advanced stage, it would be considered medical malpractice.

2. Surgical Errors:

  • Public Attention: Surgical errors often receive significant public and media attention.
  • Definition: Surgical errors encompass mistakes made by surgeons during a procedure, potentially resulting in additional and life-threatening complications. These errors may also extend to pre- and post-operative care. Some surgical errors are so blatant, such as operating on the wrong patient or body part, that they are undeniable instances of malpractice.

3. Birth Injuries:

  • Complexity: Childbirth can lead to various medical complications, making it a complex area for potential malpractice claims.
  • Definition: Physicians or healthcare providers may be liable for malpractice during childbirth, particularly in cases where a Cesarean section is required. For example, if a newborn experiences oxygen deprivation during delivery, it can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy.

4. Medication Errors:

  • Common Oversight: Medication errors are relatively common yet sometimes overlooked forms of medical malpractice.
  • Definition: Medication errors encompass a range of issues, including incorrect medication prescriptions, incorrect dosages, misinterpretations of medical prescriptions by pharmacists, and failure by physicians to check a patient’s history of allergies or potential drug interactions.

5. Anesthesia Errors:

  • Significance: Anesthesia errors can have profound consequences for patient safety during surgery.
  • Definition: Anesthesiologists can commit malpractice by failing to review a patient’s medical history for drug allergies or by inadequately monitoring a patient during a surgical procedure.

Medical malpractice claims are subject to specific rules and regulations in Pennsylvania that distinguish them from other types of personal injury claims. If you’ve been a victim of any form of medical malpractice, it is crucial to seek timely legal counsel. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Philadelphia professional negligence attorney at Quinn Law Group today for an initial consultation. Your legal rights matter, and we are here to guide you through this intricate process.