Common physician errors that can harm patients

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

The errors that doctors in Mississippi might make range from so-called “never events,” such as leaving an instrument behind in a patient during surgery, to more common mistakes, such as misdiagnosing a patient. At worst, these errors can seriously harm or even be fatal to a patient.

Never events

“Never events” get their name because they are never supposed to happen. Unfortunately, on occasion, they do. Such events include operating on the wrong part of the body or the wrong patient. While these types of mistakes get a lot of publicity, it is errors such as prescribing the wrong medication or failing to wash hands adequately that cause more harm because they are more widespread.

Mistakes with equipment

A doctor might misjudge a situation and make a mistake like removing a breathing tube too soon or leaving a urinary catheter in too long. Doctors who leave patients on ventilators too long also increase the patients’ risk of developing pneumonia.

Errors of judgment

Both failing to treat and over-treating a patient are mistakes. Doctors may dismiss symptoms for any number of reasons. Some conditions are rare or may present with unusual symptoms. In other cases, a doctor may simply fail to take a patient seriously. However, doctors may also cause harm if they offer procedures and medications that patients do not really need.

Because even the most conscientious physician might initially fail to correctly diagnose certain conditions, the standard a court uses in determining whether medical malpractice has occurred is whether medical personnel provided the patient with a reasonable standard of care. It is also necessary to demonstrate that the patient was harmed in some way by the error. An attorney may be able to help a person determine whether medical malpractice occurred and what steps to take next.