Common Types of Medical Malpractice
Although medical malpractice occurs any time a patient is hurt by a healthcare worker who fails to provide a reasonable standard of care, there are many different types of medical negligence. The most common include:
- Misdiagnosis: Doctors are expected to perform the proper tests and the right examinations to properly diagnose a patient. When they fail to do so and mistake one condition for another, the proper treatment can be delayed and patients can suffer great harm as their condition becomes worse.
- Failure to diagnose: This is the worst type of misdiagnosis. When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition and the proper diagnosis is never made, the patient never receives the proper treatment. This can have the worst consequences, including death when the condition that is not diagnosed is a chronic or terminal disease, such as cancer.
- Surgical errors: Mistakes made during surgery occur more often than people think. These errors could include leaving medical equipment inside a patient’s body cavity, puncturing internal organs, performing surgery on the wrong site, and more. These errors often have terrible, long-term consequences for patients.
- Birth injuries: These injuries are traumatic and devastating to infants and their parents. They can be a result of medical negligence before, during, and after labor and delivery. Birth injuries include brain injuries, broken bones, nerve damage, and conditions such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy. These injuries are often preventable and can have lifelong consequences for children who suffer from them. These injuries and conditions could also be a result of negligent prenatal care.
- Medication errors: When medication errors occur, they can have disastrous impacts. These mistakes hurt millions of Americans every year, and many of them are right here in Kentucky. These mistakes occur when a prescription is inaccurate, or when a drug is administered incorrectly. Patients may get too much or too little of a medication they need, or they may be prescribed the wrong medication.
- Anesthesia errors: Anesthesiologists are responsible for properly administering anesthesia and monitoring patients while they are under anesthesia. Anesthesia mistakes include inaccurate dosages and failing to monitor patients. When a person receives too much anesthesia, he or she can suffer from oxygen deprivation, which can lead to permanent brain damage. When there is not enough anesthesia administered, patients may wake up during surgery and experience unnecessary pain.
- Emergency room errors: People visit emergency rooms when they are in need of urgent care. When they are kept waiting, the proper treatment is delayed. There can also be mistakes made in triage, a failure to obtain a proper medical history, or failing to take certain information into consideration, such as overlooking an allergy to certain medication.
Clearly, there are many different types of medical malpractice that can occur when a person requires treatment for an illness or injury. When a medical mistake occurs, it is crucial that injured patients speak to a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney who can help.
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Kentucky Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
Kentucky, like all other states, has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. This is the amount of time injured patients have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you do not file your claim within this time limit, the courts will throw out your claim and you will be barred from receiving any compensation.
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims is only one year from the date of injury. There are some exceptions to this, though. If your injury or illness is not discovered right away, injured patients have one year from the date of discovery to file a medical malpractice claim. The date of discovery is the date the injury caused by medical malpractice was discovered or should have been discovered.
So, for example, if a patient’s cancer is misdiagnosed, it could take months for the patient to discover he or she was not properly diagnosed. In that case, a patient who becomes even sicker has one year from the date he or she discovered the misdiagnosis to file a claim.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is when the victim of medical malpractice is younger than 18. In these cases, parents can file a claim on behalf of the child, in which the statute of limitations of one year stands. However, the child can also wait until after his or her 18th birthday to file a claim. In these cases, the child still has one year after the 18th birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If a patient died as a result of medical malpractice, a family member may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Loved ones then have two years from the date of death to file a claim.
Before filing your claim, an attorney must gather medical records, obtain a certificate of merit, talk to expert witnesses, and more. All of this is crucial to proving your claim, but it all takes time. This is why it is so important that anyone injured by a healthcare worker speaks to a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.