Every year, patients are injured due to malpractice in hospitals and doctor’s offices. This type of negligence could cost a treating physician their medical privileges if fault can be proven. However, not every situation is going to lead to a successful malpractice claim. Opinions on correct “standard of care” can change in various respective fields of practice. The most common examples of physician malpractice include failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis of a disease or medical condition, failure to provide adequate treatment, unreasonable delay in treating a condition, violation of HIPAA, and failure to secure informed consent from a patient.
Allegations Against Orthopedic Surgeons
What are some common system failures and processes that result in patient harm? Now you can find out more about the 3 most common patient allegations against 2,100 orthopedists from 2007-2014.
- Improper Performance of Surgery: 46% of patients say that the outcome of their procedure differed greatly from what they expected. However, only a small percentage of these outcomes were due to substandard care. The procedures included total knee replacement, total hip replacement, knee athroscopy, and vertebroplasty.
- Improper Management of Surgical Patient: 16% of patients’ cases involved clinical decisions and care provided to the patient after operation. The allegations included improper management of infections, malunion or nonunion of bones, and continued pain.
- Diagnosis Related: 13% of patients claimed there was a failure, delay, or wrongful diagnosis. The conditions that patients alleged to be diagnosed incorrectly were compartment syndrome, fractures, hematomas, postoperative infections, and malignant bone tumors.
What Elements Must Exist?
If you are a patient who wants to bring forth a claim, there are some things that need to be proven. The following elements are extremely vital to your case:
- A patient/physician medical relationship must have existed.
- A medical expert in the orthopedic field must affirm that the surgeon did not meet the reasonable standard of care for that specific procedure.
- There must be evidence that the surgeon’s negligence actually resulted in injury.
- There must be evidence that the injury resulted in damages to the victim or victim’s family.
If these elements are met, then the victim may be able to sue for the injuries sustained. They may be able to receive compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses, lost wages, and permanent disfigurement or disability.
What are the Main Factors Contributing to Patient Injury?
- 35% – Technical Performance: The injury was a known risk of the procedure, there was poor technique involved, and there was misidentification of anatomical structure.
- 29% – Patient Factors: Patients were seeking other providers due to dissatisfaction with care, there was nonadherence with the treatment plan, and there was nonadherence with follow-up calls or appointments.
- 12% – Selection and Management of Therapy: There were inappropriate surgical and other invasive procedures, failure to use the most appropriate medication, and failure to order medication.
- 12% – Communication Between Patient/Family and Provider: There was inadequate informed consent for surgical or other invasive procedures, poor rapport, language barriers, inadequate discharge instructions, inadequate follow-up instructions, or insufficient information regarding the risks of medications.
- 12% – Patient Assessment Issues: There was failure or delay in ordering diagnostic tests, failure to establish a differential diagnosis, misinterpretation of diagnostic studies, failure to respond to a patient’s repeated concerns or symptoms, failure to consider clinical information available in the medical record, and failure to address abnormal findings.
With malpractice claims, complex laws can come into play, which is why you may need an experienced attorney for your case. Patients may be unhappy with their outcome for any reason, which is why it’s important to discuss the result and speak about additional care. If an agreement can’t be reached, then court may be the only way to resolve issues. If you believe you have a claim, you can speak to an experienced attorney at WTW in California. Schedule a consultation and start working toward the compensation you deserve!