Common types of medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

We need to be able to trust our doctors and medical providers. After all, at times our life is literally in their hands.

Unfortunately, not all encounters with medical professionals are pleasant and some are downright uncomfortable or scary. But how do you know if you simply had a bad experience or are a victim of medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical professional acts negligently and causes harm to a patient.

Knowing some common forms of medical malpractice can help you determine if you have a valid claim.

Misdiagnosis is a very common type of medical malpractice

Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses you with the wrong illness or injury or does not diagnose you with anything at all when you are actually suffering from something.

As you can imagine, a misdiagnosis can cause you major problems. You could receive an incorrect prescription and start taking unnecessary medication that harms you.

Misdiagnosis can be deadly in some cases if your condition is not properly diagnosed until it is too late.

To qualify as medical malpractice, your doctor must have missed something that most other doctors wouldn’t. If you have a rare condition that most doctors would not immediately diagnose, your doctor’s failure or delay to diagnose you may not be medical malpractice.

Failure to treat and prescription drug errors

Failure to treat is another common form of medical malpractice. This occurs when you are correctly diagnosed but your doctor does not properly follow up.

Being discharged from a hospital too soon, not prescribing required medications or not providing you with adequate follow-up care are all potential forms of medical malpractice. You are entitled to the minimum standard of care.

Prescription drug errors are sometimes part of a misdiagnosis but sometimes they are a form of medical malpractice all on their own.

You might be prescribed the correct medication but the wrong prescription is ordered or filled, causing you harm when you take it. The wrong medication can cause you serious side effects.

Birth injuries and surgical errors

One of the most tragic types of medical malpractice comes from birth injuries. Negligence during childbirth can cause serious and life-altering conditions such as cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries.

Surgical errors are another type of medical malpractice that can have severe consequences. Surgical errors can involve using unsterilized surgical instruments, leaving surgical instruments inside you, performing surgery when it was unnecessary or performing the wrong surgery altogether.

While there are risks associated with every surgery, your doctor must tell you about these risks. If you are told about the risks, go through with the surgery and are impacted due to one of the risks, that is likely not medical malpractice.

You must file your claim within the statute of limitations

If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, it is important that you act quickly. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Montana is two years from the date of the injury or two years from when you discover the injury.

The statute of limitations can be tolled in some situations. However, it is best to file within the two years and avoid an argument over whether your claim was filed too late and qualified for an exception.

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