Medical errors can lead to allegations of medical negligence and medical malpractice. Sadly, when doctors and medical providers make mistakes, it can result in injuries and harm. 

Some sources believe that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, resulting in an estimated 440,000 deaths per year. 

Eight of the Most Common Medical Errors in New York

Medical errors and mistakes occur routinely in New York City hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. Eight common medical errors that harm patients are:

1. Diagnostic Errors and Mistakes

Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis are some of the most common types of medical errors. For example, doctors may fail to order diagnostic tests or interpret the results of a diagnostic test correctly.

Some mistakes occur because a sample is contaminated or a defective medical device causes the result to be inaccurate. In some cases, doctors intentionally do not order tests because a patient’s insurance will not cover the cost.

2.  Medication Errors

Medication errors are also common medical mistakes. For example, a physician may prescribe the incorrect dose of a medication or prescribe the wrong medication. Likewise, nurses may give patients the wrong medicine or the wrong dose of medicine. 

Prescription medication errors may occur in pharmacies. The pharmacist may misread the prescription or give the customer the wrong medication or dose. In some cases, doctors and pharmacists may fail to read a patient’s charge or medical history to determine if the patient may be allergic to the medication or the medication may cause an adverse reaction with another medication the patient is taking.

3.  Surgical Errors

Surgical errors occur in hospitals, surgical facilities, and doctor’s offices. A physician may operate on the incorrect site or perform the wrong type of surgery. For example, doctors have been known to amputate the wrong limb or remove an internal organ from the wrong patient.

Doctors also leave instruments inside of a patient and fail to monitor patients in post-op. Surgical errors can result in severe injuries and life-threatening conditions.

4.  Labor and Delivery Errors

Mistakes and negligence during labor and delivery can put the mother’s and the baby’s lives in danger. Misusing a vacuum or forceps can cause scarring and brain damage.

A doctor who fails to order a C-section as soon as the mother or baby shows signs of distress can endanger their lives. Failing to monitor the baby’s and mother’s vitals closely can result in various birth injuries.

5.  Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors can cause brain damage if the anesthesiologist fails to monitor the patient to adjust the levels of oxygen and medication. Anesthesia errors have also caused wrongful deaths and permanent disabilities. 

A patient has the right to have full disclosure about medical treatments and procedures. A doctor has a duty to explain each procedure or treatment, including the risks and benefits of the procedure or treatment. The doctor should also explain alternative forms of treatment and why the doctor chooses a specific course of treatment.

7.  Communication Errors

Problems with communication can adversely affect patients in profound ways. When doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals fail to communicate, the patient may receive incorrect treatment or no treatment at all. For example, a doctor may fail to diagnose a condition, or medication errors may occur when health care professionals fail to communicate.

8.  Infections and Secondary Complications 

Hospital-acquired infections can result in life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis. Infections occur when the hospital and staff members fail to sanitize and clean all surfaces and areas. Infections may also occur when health care professionals fail to wash their hands, wear gloves, use face masks, and come to work sick.

Failing to monitor a patient may result in infections and secondary complications. If a patient’s condition is not monitored, the resulting delay in treatment could cause permanent impairments or death. 

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim Seeking Damages 

When a doctor or health care provider commits medical negligence or medical malpractice, the patient may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. However, you must prove that the medical errors or malpractice was a direct cause of your injuries. You must also prove that you sustained damages because of malpractice or medical negligence.

Damages may include economic damages, such as lost wages and medical bills. You may also seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Contact a lawyer for advice if you suspect your doctor committed medical malpractice. A medical malpractice lawyer investigates your case to gather evidence proving malpractice. Medical experts must assess the case and advise how the doctor deviated from that standard of care to cause your injury.

The statute of limitations (deadline) for filing medical malpractice lawsuits in New York is typically two years and six months from the date of the malpractice. There could be exceptions that could change this deadline. For that reason, it is best to consult a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.