Medical Malpractice Awareness Month: Common Doctor Mistakes

gavel and stethoscope

When a doctor or other healthcare provider makes a mistake, a patient’s outcome can change from health to injury, or even from life to death. Despite the years doctors spend in school and the high costs of healthcare, these mistakes are common in hospitals, specialty clinics, and beyond. A study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that around 250,000 American patients die each yeardue to a care-related error. An additional 700,000 patients develop infections during treatmentand an estimated 12 million receive some manner of mistaken diagnosis, according to a patient survey conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

What happens if you or your loved one are the victim of an error? The same survey estimates 4 in 10 adults in America will in some way be affected by a mistake in medical treatment during their lives. Some of these errors may be relatively harmless; others can result in permanent disability. No matter the severity, any patient who suffers damages due to a doctor’s mistake may be able to file a medical malpractice complaint. If you are wondering whether you might have a valid claim, here are some of the most common medical errors that can seriously harm patients.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

The first thing you’ll need to identify if you’re considering a medical malpractice case is how the doctor’s actions were negligent. According to healthcare and patient experience studies, here are some of the mistakes that injure patients.

Adverse Drug Events

Not all drugs are safe for all people. Sometimes, there’s no way of knowing when a patient will have a bad reaction. However, if a doctor forgets to ask a patient about drug allergies or consider harmful interactions a new prescription may have with their other medications, pharmaceutical treatment can result in injury or even fatality. Doctors who prescribe medications and those who administer drugs must also be careful to prevent overdose on any medication.


Healthcare facilities are a constant petri dish of bacteria and viruses brought in by ailing patients. Each practice should, therefore, have a comprehensive infection prevention plan that involves individual precautions for caregivers and facility-wide hygiene measures. Otherwise, patients may develop an infection after surgery or the insertion of various types of catheters.

Diagnostic Errors

Whether due to ignoring telltale symptoms, disregarding patients’ accounts of their illness, or failing to consider medical histories, doctors often make mistakes regarding a diagnosis. Whether they wrongly diagnose an ailment, make a delayed decision, or completely fail to provide a patient with a diagnosis, a doctor’s error can stand in the way of their victim receiving the care they need.

Treatment Mistakes

Whether receiving a test or undergoing surgery, if a doctor, nurse, or technician makes a mistake, a patient’s care may be botched. Consequences can range from relatively minor (a mishandled sample is contaminated, meaning a patient must be re-tested) to major (wrong-site surgery can expose patients to unnecessary risk and condemn them to lengthy recoveries or permanent disability).

Pressure Ulcers

When patients are bedridden, they must be carefully and frequently rotated so their skin is not damaged. If one part of the body is constantly in contact with the bed (or another surface), the pressure caused by the patient’s weight may deprive the area of blood and damage the skin, causing a pressure ulcer. Also known as bedsores, these wounds may start as small blisters but can develop into deep sores that can cause damage to muscles and other underlying tissues.

When Is Patient Injury an Issue of Medical Malpractice?

Not every complication a patient experiences is a sign of a doctor’s negligence. However, if your or a loved one was hurt by your treatment team’s actions or advice, it’s worth looking into the incident to see whether the case has any hallmarks of medical malpractice. Our team has handled hundreds of these cases and won over $500 million for injured clients. We are happy to sit down with you for a free case review. After we learn your story, we can help you determine if you are eligible to make a medical malpractice claim and, if so, how we can help you fight for compensation.

Call The Law Office of Marshall Silberberg at (949) 565-4281 or contact us online to speak with our highly qualified team. Se Habla Español.

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