January 29, 2013

162017_132140396847214_292624_nWhat are five of the most common hospital medical malpractice claim allegations, based on research of  jury verdicts and medical malpractice insurance claims data?

1. Medication Errors

Hospital medication errors include patients being given the wrong medication, patients being given the wrong dosage of medication, patients being  given the wrong form of medication, medication being administered at the wrong time, or the patient not being given his/her medication at all. Many medication errors are due to illegible or incorrect medication orders, pharmacists incorrectly filling medication orders, or medications administered to the wrong patient. While electronic prescriptions have helped to reduce medication errors, many prescribers still hand-write prescriptions.

2. Diagnosis Failures

Diagnosis failures occur when patients are diagnosed incorrectly or untimely that causes delay in their medical treatment or resulting in improper medical treatment. Common areas where misdiagnoses are alleged are in cancer diagnosis and treatment, radiological tests and procedures, and in emergency room visits. Diagnosis failures may be reduced by establishing and following hospital protocols. Many medical specialty societies have established protocols within their specialties and subspecialties. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) and JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations) have developed widely-recognized and effective protocols.

3. Negligent Supervision

Physicians-in-training and other newly-minted health care providers in teaching hospitals do not have the extensive experience and knowledge that more-seasoned physicians rely upon in treating patients. When these less-experienced health care providers knowingly or mistakenly provide care and services beyond their expertise and knowledge level without the proper supervision, patients may suffer the consequences of improper or wrong medical treatment. Not only is the health care provider who breached the standard of care responsible for the injuries caused to patients due to the negligent medical treatment, but their supervisors may be held responsible for their underlings’ medical mistakes and medical errors and may also be held individually responsible for their own negligence in failing to properly supervise their subordinates.

4. Delayed Treatment

The unnecessary or unreasonable delay in providing patients with medical treatment may cause additional injuries, suffering, or the death of patients. Statistics indicate that hospitals lose 39% of medical malpractice cases alleging delayed treatment. Hospitals may be able to reduce their exposure to delayed treatment claims by insuring that their hospital systems include a tickler system for review of medical tests, proper logs that track patient information that are readily and timely available to health care providers involved in patient care, and other systems that make sure that test results, lab reports, and procedure reports are filed when and where they are supposed to be within patients’ charts and other hospital records.

5. Failure To Obtain Informed Consent

Patients are entitled and required to be adequately and timely informed about the proposed treatment, alternative medical treatment options that are available, and the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment. Some hospitals have responded to the risk of lack of informed consent claims by producing and providing standardized information for patients undergoing common medical procedures and by providing health care providers with checklists regarding the information to be provided to patients before undergoing proposed treatment. Statistics indicate that patients win medical malpractice lack of informed consent claims only 26% of the time.

If you or a loved one were injured as a result of hospital negligence, you should promptly seek the advice of a local medical malpractice attorney to investigate your possible hospital malpractice claim and file a medical malpractice claim against the hospital, if appropriate.

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