According to a recent study, roughly 80% of all physicians will be sued at some point in their careers for medical malpractice. Although medical mistakes and negligence can occur in any number of situations, the most common reasons physicians were sued for malpractice were the following:
- Failure to diagnose a condition/misdiagnosis. Ascertaining the proper diagnosis is the first step in helping a patient and ensuring that he or she receives the proper treatment. However, about a third of all respondents indicated that they were sued as the result of a delayed or completely missed diagnosis. One way to improve the rate of failed or missed diagnoses is to improve communication between medical staff and between physicians and patients.
- The patient suffers an unexpected outcome or injury. Another third of respondents noted that they were sued after a patient's outcome following a procedure deviated from what was expected. Although some times a course of treatment, surgery or procedure may not produce the desired outcome for no clear reason, other times it may be the result of a preventable medical mistake –such as a wrong site surgery or prescription error.
- Failure to treat a condition. Rounding out the top three, the failure to appropriately treat a condition is the third leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. This may occur when doctors fail to follow up on tests, or fail to interpret test results correctly. Let untreated, conditions may worsen, reducing the chances that a patient may achieve a full recovery and creating a greater likelihood of harm.
Other negligent action that led to medical malpractice lawsuits included medication errors, the failure to obtain informed consent, and the failure to follow proper safety protocols.
Although not all poor outcomes are the result of medical malpractice, if you have experienced an unexpected result after a doctor or hospital visit, it's a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney. For more information, please contact the knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.