What are the Common Types of Medical Negligence?

Although there’s a tendency to think that we’re an increasingly litigious society here in the UK, medical negligence claims on these shores have remained relatively steady in recent years.

This is despite a marked increase in activity within the various departments of the NHS, suggesting that the total number of claims is falling as a proportion of the listed treatment episodes.

But what are the most common types of medical negligence, and why should you care? Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

#1. Misdiagnosis

Let’s start with the common trigger of cases, as both private and NHS doctors often fail to recognise a condition during consultations. This represents a clear and obvious fault, especially when a more competent practitioner diagnoses the issue at a much later stage.

This misdiagnosis may result in the condition progressing to a more advanced stage, which can be particularly problematic in the case of serious and often terminal diseases like cancer.

Not only could this cause more substantial pain and suffering over time, but in the worst case scenarios, it may even result in a patient’s untimely death.

In this case, a plaintiff bringing a claim would need expert testimony from a doctor who can clearly demonstrate the misdiagnosis and its subsequent impact, while this will also be explained in detail by no-win, no-fee medical negligence medical solicitors.

#2. Medication Errors

During treatment (either at a hospital or while under the care of a doctor), medical professionals will be held accountable for any errors in prescribing or administering medication.

A doctor will certainly be liable if a mistake happens during the prescription process, while the nurse and the hospital that employs them will also be liable for any mistakes made in the process of administration.

Often, there’s a blurring of the lines between prescription or medication errors and instances of misdiagnosis, especially if the former arises following a false or missed diagnoses.

#3. Surgical and Anesthesia Errors

It stands to reason that the most obvious and legally pursuable instances of medical malpractice occur during surgical procedures, either when operations are being carried out or when anesthetic is being administered.

Some common types of surgical error are referred to colloquially as “never events”, which means that the medical professional acknowledges that the error (or errors) in question should never occur under any circumstances.

Because of this and the nature of surgery, a patient may not need expert testimony in these cases, especially in cases where a practitioner operates on the wrong part of the body or completes a treatment while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

#4. Birth Errors and Defects

Birth injuries are also often a source of medical negligence claims, which should come as no surprise when you consider the sheer number of medical professionals involved during pregnancy and the delivery of a newborn baby.

From gynecologists to obstetricians, any number of practitioners and procedures can cause lifelong and serious harm to a newborn, with some of the conditions arising from malpractice in this case including cerebral palsy, paralysis, nerve damage and developmental disorders.

Sometimes, issues can be caused by inadequate treatment or care prior to childbirth, while this can also cause an injury to the mother. What’s more, a birth injury may arise from the failure to diagnose a clear medical condition or defect, especially if a pregnant woman has plenty of scans or is considered to be at a higher risk of such issues.

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