Medical malpractice or mistakes kill between 44,000 and 98,000 people each year. This far exceeds the number of people killed each year in traffic accidents (43,450), or those who die yearly from breast cancer (42,300) or AIDS (16,400).
In addition to death, medical mistakes can cause birth trauma, brain injury, paralysis, amputation, disability, and disfigurement. A medical mistake or medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other healthcare professional fails to properly treat a patient and the improper treatment causes the patient to suffer a new injury.
A new injury is required because it would be unreasonable to hold a doctor or other healthcare professional responsible for the original medical problem. Some examples of medical mistakes include:
- Failure to diagnose a medical condition
- Misdiagnosis of a medical condition
- Failure to properly treat a patient’s medical condition
- Failure to safely administer anesthesia
- Failure to manage a pregnancy or deliver a baby in a safe manner
- Failure of a nurse or other staff member to keep a treating physician informed of a patient’s condition
- Failure to administer medications properly
- Failure to protect a patient from a fall or other injury on hospital property