Medical Malpractice Involves More than Physicians

Medical malpractice is defined as an act or failure to act of a health care provider to provide due care to a patient. It is considered negligence because it contravenes the tenets of the accepted standard of practice. People usually equate this with physicians or surgeons, but in fact many medical mistakes are attributable to nurses, medical technicians, laboratory personnel, hospitals, paramedics, therapists, dentists, and other non-physicians.

One of the most common medical mistakes committed by a non-physician is development of pressure sores or ulcers, otherwise known as bed sores, because of the failure of the nurse or orderly to regularly change the position of a non-ambulatory patient. Bed sores are extremely painful and, if left unattended, can expose subcutaneous tissue and even bone. It can also trigger complications such as sepsis, osteomyelitis, gangrene, autonomic dysreflexia, amyloidosis, anemia, bladder distension, and even malignant tumors.
Another type of medical malpractice that occurs more frequently than is reported is retained surgical instrument. Sponges are the most commonly retained item, although forceps, retractors, clamps and needles have also shown up in a postoperative patient. In such cases, nurses have come into share of the blame for failing to keep accurate count of the instruments such as sponges, which is part of their responsibilities.

Medical malpractice may be claimed by a patient when the health care provider through some commission or omission suffers injury, physical or otherwise. In one case, a patient who was conscious and able to feel the pain of his surgical procedure because of an error in the administration of the general anesthetic committed suicide because of psychological damage from the experience.

If you or someone in your family has suffered harm from medical mistakes, you may have a basis for a medical malpractice suit. This can become necessary if death has occurred, or the consequences of the negligent act resulted in significant financial losses.  Consult with a medical malpractice lawyer to find out what your legal options are.

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