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January 26, 2016

Medical malpractice in Chicago can occur in any situation where a doctor failed to fulfill a professional obligation and the physician’s substandard care caused harm to a patient. Patients need to be aware of some of the different types of errors and mistakes which can occur and be considered malpractice. It is not just overt actions doctors take which can lead to a claim, as omission or failure to act can also be harmful to patients.

Medscape surveyed approximately 4,000 primary care physicians as well as additional specialists in order to understand what types of mistakes are being made which lead to malpractice claims. Becker Hospital Review reported on the results of the research, which were published in a report in late 2015.

What are Seven Common Reasons Physicians Get Sued for Malpractice?

When doctors were asked about the nature of claims made against them in medical malpractice cases, there were seven specific things doctors did which lead to virtually all claims against primary care physicians. The seven common problems which led to patients pursuing legal action against doctors for medical errors included:

  • Failure of the doctor to correctly diagnose the patient. This was the cause of 31 percent of claims against primary care physicians. Incorrect diagnosis can result in patients receiving the wrong treatments, which could cause them to suffer additional harm and which can leave their actual medical issues untreated.
  • Patients suffering an abnormal injury in the course of treatment. This was the cause of 31 percent of the claims being made against primary care physicians.
  • Failure on the part of the physician to provide treatment. Twelve percent of patients pursued malpractice claims for failure to treat. A failure to provide treatment can be detrimental and even deadly, such as when a patient is experiencing a heart attack or when cancer treatment is delayed and cancer spread.
  • Inadequate education of patients and/or poorly documenting instructions provided to patients. This led to four percent of the malpractice claims patients filed against doctors.
  • Errors in the administration of medication. Four percent of patients pursued claims against doctors for problems with medicines they were dosed with. Patients may receive the wrong dosage of a medication, the wrong medication, or medication that reacts adversely with other drugs.
  • Failure to follow safety procedures. This was the complaint made by three percent of patients pursuing malpractice claims against their doctors.
  • Improperly obtaining consent from patients, or a lack of informed consent before procedures were performed. Three percent of patients had this complaint leading to their malpractice claims.

It can sometimes be difficult for patients who have an undesirable outcome of treatment or who have a bad prognosis to determine if a physician error was the cause of harm or if their bad health outcome was simply poor luck. Patients who experience these types of problems or who otherwise believe a doctor failed them in the treatment being provided should get help from an attorney to subpoena their medical records and have the records reviewed by an expert.

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