What Are the Signs of Medical Malpractice? Are You a Victim in Arkansas?

Medical malpractice is a severe violation of trust between a patient and their healthcare provider. It occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide the standard of care expected in their field, harming their patient.

In order to protect patient rights and ensure accountability within the healthcare system, it is essential to recognize the signs of medical malpractice when it happens to you. Patients who have suffered harm because of the negligence of their healthcare provider have the right to seek compensation for their losses. This is particularly important in Arkansas, where a cap does not limit damages. Our team is committed to helping medical malpractice victims seek justice for the harm they have suffered and make those responsible pay for their carelessness.

For a free case review with our Arkansas personal injury attorneys, contact us by calling (479) 316-0438.

What Are Common Signs of Medical Malpractice in Arkansas?

Medical malpractice describes situations where a healthcare provider, such as a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, fails to provide the standard level of care expected of them, resulting in an injury to a patient. The “standard of care” is a legal concept that refers to the quality and type of care a competent, skilled healthcare professional with a similar background who practices in the same medical community would have provided under the same circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice.

Medical malpractice can occur in various forms, including surgical errors, misdiagnoses, and medication errors, among many others. Regardless of the medical malpractice you have suffered, our Arkansas medical malpractice attorneys can help you get compensation for your damages. Proving medical malpractice can be one of the most challenging issues to litigate, but common signs of malpractice can show where the errors occurred.

Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose

One of the most common types of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose a condition. It is the responsibility of medical professionals to accurately identify the patient’s illness and provide appropriate treatment. When doctors fail to diagnose or misdiagnose a condition, it can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, which can cause the patient’s condition to worsen or even fatal.

To illustrate, consider the example of a patient exhibiting symptoms consistent with lung cancer, such as persistent cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. A doctor who dismisses these symptoms as merely indicative of a respiratory infection without conducting further tests could be putting the patient’s health at risk. Failure to diagnose lung cancer in its early stages could lead to a delayed diagnosis, causing the disease to progress to a more advanced stage and limiting treatment options.

Surgical Errors

Another form of medical malpractice that occurs frequently is surgical error. A surgical error can occur from a range of factors, such as miscommunication among medical staff, inadequate pre-surgery preparation, or a lack of attention or focus during the surgical procedure.

Examples of surgical errors include operating on the wrong body part or wrong patient, leaving surgical instruments or sponges inside the patient’s body, or damaging surrounding organs or tissues during the surgery. Such errors often cause significant physical harm and emotional distress to patients and their families.

For example, a patient is scheduled for surgery on their right knee, but the surgical team mistakenly operates on the left knee instead. As a result, the patient undergoes unnecessary surgery on a healthy knee while still experiencing the original knee problem.

Medical professionals must take every possible precaution to prevent surgical errors, including careful communication and coordination among the surgical team, thorough pre-surgery preparation and verification procedures, maintaining focus during the surgery itself, and paying close attention to the patient’s condition during post-surgery.

Medication Errors

Medication errors can occur at various stages, including prescribing, dispensing, and administering the medication. This type of negligence can take many forms, such as prescribing the wrong medication, administering the wrong dosage, or failing to consider harmful drug interactions. These errors can have severe consequences, ranging from adverse allergic reactions to worsening of the illness or even death.

Consider a patient who is prescribed a blood-thinning medication at an incorrect dose because of a clerical error. The excessive dosage can increase the risk of severe bleeding complications, which can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding. Thus, any healthcare provider who prescribes or sells medications should take all necessary precautions, including implementing proper medication reconciliation processes, double-checking medication orders, and educating patients on the importance of sticking to their medication directions.

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors are another serious concern but a rarer form of medical malpractice. These errors often occur because the anesthesiologist administered too much anesthesia, failed to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or failed to inform the patient of necessary preoperative procedures like fasting.

Arguably, the most common example of anesthesia error is administering an incorrect dosage of anesthesia, which can result in the patient becoming unconscious or suffering from respiratory distress. This is typically caused by miscalculating the appropriate dosage for the patient, failing to consider the patient’s medical history, or not properly monitoring the patient’s response after the anesthesia has been administered.

Another common cause of anesthesia-related harm is inadequate monitoring of the patient’s vital signs during the surgical procedure. This can lead to life-threatening complications such as hypoxia, hypercapnia, and other respiratory or cardiovascular issues.

Lack of Informed Consent

Healthcare providers have a legal and ethical obligation to inform their patients about the possible risks and benefits associated with any medical procedure or treatment. This process is called “informed consent,” and it involves explaining to the patient what the procedure or treatment entails, what the potential risks are, and what the expected benefits are. The patient must give their permission or consent to proceed with the procedure or treatment after being fully informed about the possible outcomes.

If a healthcare provider fails to obtain informed consent and proceeds with a procedure or treatment that results in harm to the patient, this could be considered medical malpractice. For instance, a surgeon might perform an additional procedure during an operation without the patient’s prior knowledge or consent, leading to unforeseen complications that could have been avoided if the patient had been informed beforehand.

Childbirth Injuries

Childbirth injuries might be the most devastating and life-altering form of medical malpractice. These terrible injuries typically occur because of negligence during prenatal care, where a healthcare provider fails to diagnose an infectious disease that could harm the fetus.

Similarly, negligence during childbirth, such as using forceps incorrectly, could lead to severe injury. One common example is when a healthcare provider fails to respond appropriately to signs of fetal distress, leading to the baby suffering brain damage.

Our Arkansas Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help Determine if You Were the Victim of Medical Malpractice in Arkansas

Call our firm at (479) 316-0438 today to receive a free case evaluation with our Arkansas medical malpractice lawyers.