Most people inherently trust their doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare providers to make the right decisions. After all, they went through many years of medical school and residencies to accumulate their level of experience and knowledge before treating you. But ultimately, healthcare providers are only human, and they can make mistakes.
When those mistakes are caused by negligence, it may be medical malpractice. Patients who are harmed by medical malpractice often feel betrayed, especially when it was caused by a healthcare provider they’ve known for a long time. Medical malpractice can occur throughout every step of the healthcare process, whether it’s during an initial diagnosis, during a surgical procedure, or during rehabilitation and recovery.
Medical malpractice can be committed by many different parties in the healthcare field. If you have been injured through a healthcare provider’s negligence, even if you were only treated by them one time, it may still be worth speaking to a lawyer about whether they can be held liable. In this blog, we’re breaking down who can commit medical malpractice to help you and other victims understand if you’re eligible for compensation.
When most patients refer to “their doctor,” they are referring to a general practitioner. These doctors are responsible for everything from checking blood pressure and diagnosing the flu to catching early symptoms of serious diseases and referring patients to specialists.
One of the most common ways that general practitioners commit medical malpractice is by failing to properly diagnose patients. They may rush through exams because they need to see so many patients in a single day, or they may fail to order all the necessary tests. When general practitioners misdiagnose or fail to diagnose patients, those patients’ conditions can worsen significantly and their doctors can be held liable.
Surgeons have demanding jobs that require them to be cool, calm, and collected under pressure and able to quickly address life-threatening emergencies. When surgeons make mistakes, whether they’re negligence-related or not, patients can be severely injured or even die.
When it comes to medical malpractice, some of the most devastating surgical mistakes include operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical tools inside patients’ bodies. Patients who are victims of surgical malpractice often have long and expensive roads to recovery, and they often face complications like infection, nerve damage, and severe pain.
When patients need additional care and expertise beyond what their general practitioners can provide, they are often referred to specialists. Specialists include doctors such as radiologists, oncologists, urologists, and OB-GYNs. Because specialists’ range of expertise is narrower than general practitioners, their responsibility to make accurate diagnoses and order effective treatments is often greater.
One of the most common types of medical malpractice committed by specialists is birth injuries. OB-GYNs, midwives, and other labor and delivery providers must quickly and accurately diagnose conditions that can potentially harm mothers and their children before, during, and immediately after delivery. When they fail to do so, serious birth injuries can occur. One common example of a birth injury is when doctors fail to order medically necessary c-sections when complications happen during delivery. This can lead to babies being deprived of oxygen and cause severe and permanent injuries, including cerebral palsy.
Anesthesiologists are tasked with making patients comfortable during surgical procedures, whether that involves minimal sedation or complete unconsciousness. They must be able to accurately determine exactly how much anesthesia patients need to reduce their awareness and pain levels without putting them at risk of developing complications.
When anesthesiologists are negligent in administering sedation, patients may become aware of what’s happening during surgery. Or, in some cases, patients may fall into a coma or even die when sedation levels are too high. They also may have allergic reactions to sedatives, which should be identified and/or tested before they are administered. When anesthesiologists don’t accurately administer sedation, they can be held liable for the harm they cause.
Pharmacists are responsible for taking prescriptions written by doctors and dispensing the correct medications and dosages to patients. They’re also tasked with answering patients’ questions about their medications, including concerns about side effects, interactions, dosage timing, and more.
These healthcare professionals can be considered liable for malpractice if they negligently administer the wrong medications, give patients the wrong dosages, or give them inaccurate and dangerous advice concerning their medications.
Think You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice? We’re Here to Help.
Doctors, surgeons, specialists, and other healthcare providers rarely come out and admit that they made a mistake. If they do, they won’t say it was because of negligence. That can leave patients feeling confused and uncertain about what happened when their health worsens after treatment.
At Wagner Reese, our Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers know how to quickly and accurately determine when and where medical malpractice occurred. Then we build strong, compelling claims for our clients that healthcare providers, facilities, and their insurers can’t dismiss. Contact us today for a free consultation—it’s our goal to get you maximum compensation for what you’ve suffered.