Published on February 14, 2024

What Causes Medical Malpractice?

What Causes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice describes healthcare provider negligence that results in patient injury. You might assume medical malpractice is rare, but studies paint a different picture. After analyzing death rate data in 2016, a BMJ-published study found that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. While respiratory diseases kill nearly 150,000 people annually, medical errors result in the deaths of over 250,000.

We expect to receive only the best care when we visit a healthcare provider for an ailment or injury. However, that’s not everyone’s experience. Injuries from medical malpractice are more common than you think. They can happen for some of these reasons:

Misdiagnosing a Medical Problem

Law firms like Garland, Samuel & Loeb often meet with people who are victims of medical malpractice due to having their injury or illness misdiagnosed. While misdiagnosis may not seem like a big deal, it can sometimes have repercussions for the patient.

They may not have access to the care they need or receive incorrect treatment that makes their condition worse. The harm a patient suffers from misdiagnosis can sometimes mean they’re entitled to damages.

Not Diagnosing a Medical Problem Fast Enough

A delayed diagnosis can sometimes be a consequence of misdiagnosis. However, it can also happen when a healthcare professional doesn’t order the tests that might have led to a fast diagnosis. Failure to diagnose a medical issue quickly can sometimes result in a patient being in pain and discomfort for far longer than necessary.

Slow medical issue diagnosis is not a new problem. It has been happening for more than a decade. In 2014, 32% of celiac patients were waiting 10+ years for a diagnosis. A study also found that 95% of diagnostic delays involved physician cognitive error. This meant they had poor clinical judgment or inadequate clinical knowledge.

Failing to Treat

Not everyone diagnosed with a condition gets the treatment they need. This can sometimes result in patients having the right to file a medical malpractice claim for failure to treat. Failure to treat means a healthcare provider offers a diagnosis but doesn’t offer the care they need. They may not refer you to a specialist as they should have or failed to provide follow-up care. When you don’t get the treatment you need promptly, this can sometimes result in poorer outcomes.

Medication Errors

We expect to be prescribed the correct dose of the most appropriate medication to suit our unique health needs. However, that doesn’t always happen. In fact, the FDA receives over 100,000 reports of suspected medication errors annually. Patients receiving and consuming the wrong medication may result in:

  • Life-threatening conditions
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Hospitalization
  • Disability
  • Death

Victims of medication errors with outcomes like these are typically within their rights to file medical malpractice claims.

We all deserve the best-quality healthcare to remedy our health concerns. However, it’s clear to see that doesn’t always happen. Failure to treat, misdiagnosis, slow diagnoses, and medication errors are just a few of the many medical malpractice examples that see victims seeking legal help for the compensation they deserve.


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