Medical malpractice is a type of tort that specifically refers to a mistake or wrongdoing by a health care professional, such as a doctor or surgeon. It is a serious type of tort that can result in life-threatening or fatal injuries for patients. Every time you visit a doctor or hospital in New Jersey, you are at risk of suffering an injury or illness due to medical malpractice. Some types of malpractice, however, are more common than others.
Misdiagnosis is the number one error behind medical malpractice claims in the United States. Misdiagnosis describes a physician negligently failing to come to the correct diagnosis for a patient. In medical malpractice law, a medical professional is negligent if he or she fails to treat a patient with the same standard of care a reasonable and prudent doctor would in the same circumstances.
According to recent studies, medical misdiagnoses account for about 10% of adverse events (patient injuries, illnesses and deaths) in hospitals throughout the country. It also accounts for the highest percentage of medical malpractice legal claims (26%). The most commonly misdiagnosed diseases are pulmonary embolisms and drug reactions; however, many different conditions can be misdiagnosed by careless practitioners.
An in-depth analysis of misdiagnoses identified three main categories of this malpractice: human error, system error and no-fault. Human errors describe a doctor failing to gather the correct data, using inadequate reasoning and/or failing to verify the facts. A doctor may make an error if he or she is careless or distracted, such as by failing to order the correct tests or misinterpreting test results. System errors are technical malfunctions that lead to the patient receiving the incorrect diagnosis.
While human and system errors allow a patient to file a medical malpractice claim, the no-fault category does not. If a reasonably prudent physician could have made the same misdiagnosis based on the facts presented, the doctor in question may not be guilty of medical malpractice. If, however, another doctor would have done something differently to come to the correct diagnosis, the doctor could be liable.
Diagnostic errors such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis and failure to diagnose are not the only examples of medical malpractice in New Jersey. Patients are at risk of many other types of malpractice, including:
If any professional in the health care industry, or the facility itself, makes a careless error or lapse in judgment, patients can pay the price. Careless failures by physicians and hospitals lead to thousands of adverse patient events each year.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, you may be able to hold a physician or health care center legally responsible for your injuries and related losses. The at-fault party may be financially liable for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Pursue justice and financial recovery with assistance from a medical malpractice attorney in New Jersey. An attorney can review your case, let you know if you have grounds for a claim and help you go up against any provider in pursuit of fair compensation.