5 Medical Mistakes Which May be Grounds for a Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical mistakes have been named the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with an estimated 250,000 people dying every year. In 2012, the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that more than $3 billion was spent in medical malpractice awards and settlements, or one every 43 minutes.

Some mistakes are more prevalent than others, and five in particular can result in viable malpractice lawsuits.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are preventable mistakes made during an operation. Although all surgeries carry a certain risk element, which is why consent forms are signed beforehand, these errors exceed the known risks and are unexpected. Examples include:

  • Making an incision at the wrong site
  • Leaving a piece of equipment inside a patient
  • Injuring a nerve during a procedure
  • Operating on the wrong part of the body.

Surgical errors are not common, but when they happen, the outcome can include tissue or organ damage, internal hemorrhaging, infections, or a stroke.

Medication Errors

When medication is inaccurately prescribed or administered, the results can be disastrous and even fatal.  Some common types of medication errors may include:

  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Wrong dosage prescribed
  • Prescribing of unnecessary medications
  • Dangerous interaction with existing medication

Medication errors account for an estimated 7,000 deaths every year in the U.S., with children and the elderly being at the highest risk.


Misdiagnosis is one of the leading causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. A claim may be initiated if all three of the following elements are satisfied:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged misdiagnosis
  • The doctor’s mistake constituted negligence
  • The patient was harmed due to that negligence

Although physicians have the opportunity to identify and treat illnesses and conditions during both scheduled and emergency visits, not all of them do so properly, even when the symptoms and signs are available.

Anesthesia Errors

Although a vital part of any surgical procedure, anesthesia can cause permanent injuries and even death when errors occur in its administration. Examples of errors include:

  • Giving the wrong dosage of anesthesia
  • Improper intubation
  • Failing to monitor oxygen delivery to the patient
  • Failing to monitor the patient properly

With anesthesia errors, respiratory issues are one of the most common causes of injury and death. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 45% of malpractice consisted of respiratory issues that resulted in brain damage and death.

Childbirth Injuries

Childbirth injuries can be incurred by the mother or the baby. They can take place during delivery or during the prenatal care stage. When doctors and other medical staff fail to reasonably anticipate birth complications or use instruments in a manner that injures the mother or child, a malpractice claim may result.

Regardless of what kind of injury you have endured, if you suspect that it may have been due to the negligence or inattention of a doctor or other medical personnel, call the Sharp Firm for a free consultation. We will review your circumstances to determine whether you have a medical malpractice claim and if that turns out to be the case, we will fight to get you the fair compensation you deserve as well as stand beside you through every step of your journey to recovery.