Doctors are medical experts; they devote years of their lives to their studies, but accidents still happen. Medical malpractices are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. That’s why learning the common examples of medical malpractice are important.

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What is Medical Malpractice?  

According to a study conducted by The John Hopkins University School of Medicine around 250,000 people die every year because of medical errors. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, hospital, or healthcare provider causes an injury to a patient through negligence. To be considered for medical malpractice under the law, the claim must be  

  • Violation of Standard Care  
  • Injury Caused by Negligence  
  • Injury Resulted in Significant Damages

Common Examples of Medical Malpractice  


Even experienced doctors can misdiagnose a patient. But if a patient is misdiagnosed, they are missing the necessary care they need. However, sometimes a doctor’s misdiagnosis can lead to something more serious. Common misdiagnoses include stroke, cancer, heart attack, Lyme disease, pulmonary embolism, and thyroid condition. It is possible for these conditions to be presented in unusual ways so that they would not be considered an example of medical malpractice. When a doctor fails to diagnose or misdiagnoses something that another doctor with a similar level of training could correctly identify, then it is considered malpractice.   

Delayed Diagnosis  

In addition to misdiagnosis, a delayed diagnosis can lead to long-term illness or, in severe cases, death. Delayed diagnosis can occur when a doctor misdiagnoses or fails to diagnose the condition of the patient, which could allow the condition to progress even further. For a delayed diagnosis to be considered medical malpractice, the patient’s doctor provided less treatment than what would be considered a standard treatment among other doctors. An example of this is when a doctor did not order a necessary test that would have normally been given.  

Prescription Error  

According to the FDA, more than 100,000 U.S. medication errors occur. A lot can go wrong with the process of prescribing medications to patients. A prescription error can lead to a life-threatening situation, hospitalization, disability, birth defects, and even death. Some examples of prescription errors include:  

  • The wrong drug is prescribed  
  • Writing the prescription wrong or illegible   
  • The doctor fails to check patients’ medical history  
  • The doctor over or under-prescribed the dosage  
  • The doctor fails to prescribe the duration of usage  

Surgical Error  

Surgical errors can occur in many ways, some more harmful than others. In almost every case, the patient is usually the one that suffers the most as a result of medical malpractice. You expect that your surgeon is experienced, and the prospect of your surgeon making a critical error while on the table is terrifying. There are a wide variety of mistakes when it comes to surgical errors, here are a few common ones:  

  • Wrong-site surgery (wrong body part or patient)  
  • Damaging organs  
  • Damaging nerves  
  • Leaving medical equipment inside a patient  
  • Using nonsterile surgical instruments  
  • Performing wrong procedure  
  • Failure to control bleeding  
  • Failure to monitor vital signs during surgery  
  • Improper care before or after surgery  

Anesthesia Errors  

Anesthesia is used during medical procedures that require a patient to be still through the procedure. The skeletal muscle reflexes are relaxed and temporarily help patients avoid experiencing pain or discomfort during the procedure. Anesthesia errors are dangerous, it can lead to permanent injury, brain damage, or even death. Anesthesia errors become a type of medical malpractice when a medical professional is negligent or could have prevented the mistake.

What to Do if You are A Victim of Medical Malpractice?  

If you read these examples and find that you or someone you love suffer injuries relating to the negligence of your healthcare professional, then do not wait. If you suspect that your healthcare professional is liable for medical malpractice, the first thing you should do is to get in contact with a lawyer.   

Foley & Small – your medical malpractice lawyers. Contact us at 800-276-2525. Let the attorneys and staff of Foley & Small use their experience to help you and your family.

Patients need experienced attorneys to handle their malpractice case. Here are the most common examples of malpractice. Click here to download your infographic