What Are the Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Deaths?

medical malpractice deaths

The third leading cause of death in the United States is medical errors. According to John Hopkins, more than 250,000 people suffer medical malpractice deaths annually. Other reports say the number may be as high as 440,000 per year.

If those numbers have you nervous about your next medical procedure, keep reading. We are going to share the common causes of medical negligence that may be cause for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice vs. Medical Errors

A medical error is a mistake that happens by a professional failing to properly follow a plan of action or using a wrong plan. These mistakes don’t usually result in medical injury. The defining difference between a medical error and medical malpractice is a determination of whether or not the standard of care is met.

Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider does not follow the normal standard of care. Their deviation from the norm results in a patient suffering injury or death.

If you are unsure whether you have a medical malpractice or medical error case, consult with a reputable wrongful death lawyer. They will analyze your case and provide you with their professional opinion.

Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Deaths

Several areas have a high malpractice death rate. If you feel the treatment being given may not be correct or is ineffective, it never hurts to question the doctor. An inquiry may prevent a mistake from being made.

  • Communication—vocal and/or written communication problems between doctor, lab technician, nurse, physician’s assistant, or other medical professionals
  • Delayed diagnosis—the diagnosis should have been made earlier
  • Equipment malfunction—medical tools being used do not operate correctly, causing serious harm or death
  • Improper patient supervision—patient not being checked as frequently as their condition warrants
  • Infections—neonatal, burn ICU, and pediatric units of hospitals have a high level of infection
  • IV errors—dispensing the wrong medication or improper dosage, causing serious injury or death
  • Misdiagnosis—can lead to the wrong medication, long-term complications, medical conditions worsening, or death
  • Missed diagnosis—the patient’s condition is never found due to not properly identifying a patient’s symptoms
  • Poor follow-up—not scheduling enough follow up visits to ensure proper healing
  • Prescription errors—package labeling problems, miscommunication, or a doctor prescribing the wrong medicine
  • Unsanitary equipment—can lead to serious complications, including infections and death
  • Wrong body part surgical errors—incorrect incisions, removing the wrong organ, operating on the wrong side of the body

Human error is what causes the majority of hospital medical errors. Even simple mistakes can have life-long or life-ending consequences for the patient.

If you suspect injury or death because of medical treatment, contact a medical malpractice wrongful death attorneyThey will analyze your case for medical malpractice and/or a wrongful death lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice History

During the reign of Charles V of Europe in 1532, a law was enacted for cases involving violent death. The law required medical men to give their opinion on the cause of death. This is the predecessor to the expert testimony mandate on the standard of care in medical negligence lawsuits.

Regular medical malpractice lawsuits in the U.S. began taking place in the 1800s. To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove medical treatment was substandard. They must also prove the action is the cause of injury or death.

Medical malpractice means an act or omission during treatment that deviates from acceptable norms of medical practice, causing injury or death to the patient.

When proving a medical malpractice claim, you must show professional negligence. Negligence is conducting below the standards of a “reasonable health care provider.”

When proving negligence, there are four elements to prove:

  • The medical provider owed a duty of care to the patient
  • The medical provider breached their duty of care
  • The breach of duty is the direct and proximate cause of the patient’s injury and/or death
  • The plaintiff suffers damages because of the medical provider’s negligence

Medical malpractice lawsuits are civil torts. The plaintiff must prove negligent medical malpractice by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is different from the “beyond a reasonable doubt” criminal cases need.

Three Famous Medical Malpractice Cases

Wondering if it’s beneficial to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Consider these headline cases. The errors didn’t result in death but caused injury leading to spectacular verdicts.

ALAN NAVARRO won one of the largest settlements in history. Navarro went to the emergency room with stroke symptoms.

The doctors misdiagnosed his condition as sinusitis. They sent him home with a prescription for painkillers.

The next day the swelling in Navarro’s brain was so severe he underwent surgery, then spent three months in a coma. Navarro has limited cognitive abilities. There is a risk of him suffocating every time he swallows.

A judge in Florida awarded Navarro $216.7 million

TIFFANY APPLEWHITE filed a lawsuit on behalf of her mother. An injection containing steroids for an eye condition caused the woman to go into anaphylactic shock, stopping her heart.

The mother called 911. Paramedics arriving on the scene did not have life-saving equipment, including oxygen. The paramedics advised waiting for another ambulance to provide transportation to the hospital. The reason was the second ambulance contained life-saving equipment.

The ambulance arrived 20 minutes later. The transportation delay led to the patient suffering severe brain damage and paralysis. She was unable to walk, talk, or care for herself.

The jury found the paramedics liable and awarded the plaintiff $172 million.

NIKITA LEVY was a gynecologist at John Hopkins Hospital for more than 25 years. He took videos and photos of patients with a pen-like camera during examinations. A police investigation found over 1,200 videos and 140 photos in his home.

The jury awarded the 80,000 plaintiffs between $1,876.77 to $27,934.93 each. Levy’s employer, John Hopkins Hospital, paid the damages.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Case?

If you know someone suffering injuries or medical malpractice deaths, contact Sweet Lawyers. We will provide you with a 100% free consultation and take no attorney fees unless we win your case.

We have been representing clients for medical malpractice and wrongful death for 40 years. Call us today at 1-800-674-7854 to learn how we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

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