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,Common Medical Malpractice Injuries

The Central Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Dean Burnetti Law provide professional Medical Malpractice, Medical Negligence, and Dental Malpractice Attorney Legal Services in Polk County, including: Lakeland, Auburndale, Bartow, Haines City, Lake Wales, Mulberry, Polk City, and Winter Haven; in Hillsborough County, including: Brandon, Tampa, Riverview, Valrico, and Plant City; in Pinellas County, including: Clearwater, St. Pete, Gulfport, Treasure Island, Largo, Oldsmar, Treasure Island; as well as in all of the surrounding Greater Central Florida Areas.

Dean Burnetti Law Discusses Common Medical Malpractice Injuries

While there are numerous types of medical malpractice claims, the vast majority of medical malpractice or medical negligence injuries fall under one of the categories below. Dean Burnetti Law represents all types of medical malpractice and medical negligence victims. Certain Medical Malpractice Injuries occur more frequently than others.  The most common Medical Malpractice Injuries include:

Doctor’s Office Medical Injuries:

Delayed Diagnosis – Sometimes a doctor makes an incorrect initial diagnosis.   Even if the patient eventually receives an accurate diagnosis, the delay may cause the medical condition to worsen.  This delay may constitute malpractice if the doctor assessed the patient in a less competent manner than other doctors would have.

Misdiagnosis – A doctor’s failure to diagnose the correct illness, injury, or disease may constitute malpractice.  Likewise, when they incorrectly say the patient has no discernible illness, injury, or disease, this may be malpractice. Such a medical misjudgment often prevents the patient from seeking necessary treatment in a timely manner. Unnecessary treatment can further harm erroneously diagnosed patients.

Failure to Treat – When a doctor arrives at the correct diagnosis but fails to recommend adequate treatment, this may constitute medical malpractice.

Prescription Drug Errors – When a doctor makes a mistake in prescribing or administering prescription drugs, this may constitute malpractice. Prescription drug errors include administering the wrong medication and administering the wrong dosage of the correct medication. In some cases, the doctor prescribes the correct medication in the correct dose, but the nurse or physician’s assistant administers the incorrect medication or the wrong dosage.  Sometimes, a prescription drug error includes transposing a decimal point, which can cause dosing that is ten or a hundred times too much or too little of the necessary medication.  Such errors can be fatal.

Hospital and Surgery Center Medical Injuries:

Anesthesia Errors – Anesthesiologist errors can cause a wake of devastation, including brain injuries, blindness, and even death.

Surgical Errors – Medical malpractice due to surgical errors often includes the following:

  • Nerve damage
  • Organ damage
  • Tissue damage
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Performing the incorrect procedure (wrong patient surgery)
  • Using improperly sterilized surgical instruments
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Providing inadequate post-op care
  • Leaving medical equipment inside the patient
  • Performing wrong side surgery (wrong side amputation, wrong side organ removal)

Hospital acquired infections – Most hospital acquired infections (HAIs) stem from internally inserted medical devices such as ventilators, catheters, or central line IVs.  Of the remaining types of HAIs, the bulk are typically surgical site infections.  Hospital infections often include “C diff”, a source of serious gastrointestinal problems, or MRSA, a fast-acting infection which be fatal. Left untreated, these infections can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is when the bloodstream carries infection throughout the body.  It can lead to septic shock which is often fatal.

Amputation injuries – Wrong side surgeries and amputations occur more frequently than you may think.  Currently, over two million Americans live with some form of amputation, from a partial finger or toe to all four limbs. Reasons for amputations include diabetes, auto accidents, work accidents, hobby accidents, sports accidents, infections, and even medical malpractice.  Up to 3% of amputations each year involve wrong-side surgeries.

Birth Injuries:

Birth injuries – “Birth injury” is a legal term describing damage or injury to an infant before, during, or immediately following birth. Many types of birth injuries include numerous levels of severity. Though some birth injuries are temporary, others last for a lifetime. Moreover, some types of birth injuries are immediately noticeable.  However, other types aren’t noticeable until certain developmental mile markers are missed (such as rolling over, crawling, etc.). Some go unnoticed until the child starts school. Birth injuries often require lifelong medical care to the tune of several million dollars.

Brain-Related Birth Injuries:

Oxygen deprivation during the delivery process (“Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy”) causes most brain-related birth injuries.  The most common brain-related birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy – People who have cerebral palsy often have partial to complete loss of muscle control. However, cerebral palsy is technically a brain injury because it affects the way the brain communicates with the body’s muscles.
  • Brain ischemia – A brain ischemia is the result of oxygen deprivation.  In addition, oxygen deprivation can cause seizures, electrical disorders between the brain and the spine, and infant stroke.
  • Brain hemorrhage – A brain hemorrhage occurs when excessive blood pools in the brain.

Muscle and Nerve-Related Birth Injuries:

  • Brachial plexus – This is a muscle-related physical birth injury to the infant’s upper arm.  Such an injury occurs during delivery. It can cause muscle weakness or the inability to use certain muscles in the injured arm. Furthermore, the infant’s shoulder or hand may also suffer damage. Brachial plexus may also cause a burning sensation throughout the length of the arm.
  • Erb’s palsy – This form of brachial plexus occurs when the infant’s upper arm’s nerves are injured during birth.  Erb’s palsy may cause weakness or total numbness in the affected arm. In extreme cases, the arm may be paralyzed.
  • Klumpke’s palsy – This form of brachial plexus occurs when the nerves in the lower arm are damaged during birth. It affects the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers.  Klumpke’s palsy produces complete paralysis in the affected arm. Furthermore, the affected hand will not likely develop properly, and will remain in a permanent underdeveloped closed hand “claw”.
  • Shoulder dystocia – This rare birth injury occurs when the infant’s head and shoulders are stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. Shoulder dystocia complications are typically severe and sometimes fatal. Additionally, it can also cause the mother to hemorrhage or cause her uterus to rupture.

Diagnostic-Related Birth Injuries:

  • Group B strep infection and Meningitis – Both of these infections are passed to the infant from the mother. Furthermore, both have serious and sometimes fatal outcomes. Because nearly 25% of pregnant women carry either of these infections with no symptoms, the obstetrician has a duty to detect and treat these and/or any other infections that can be passed during delivery.
  • Spina bifida, Fetal anemia, and Folic acid deficiency – These serious conditions develop during gestation.  Studies show these may possibly be prevented with proper testing and by the obstetrician prescribing supplements to the expectant mother.

Other Birth Injuries:

  • Meconium aspiration syndrome – This birth injury occurs when the infant is under stress from a long, difficult delivery. The infant’s bowels release into the uterus, then the baby inhales the meconium, causing severe breathing difficulties after birth.
  • Other birth injuries – Further injuries that arise during delivery are often caused by medical equipment such as forceps, vacuum extractors, or other surgical tools. These injuries often create temporary or permanent disfigurement as well as other physical problems. Reaction to medication administered during delivery or the medical staff mishandling the infant can cause additional injuries including lacerations, broken or fractured bones, or even infant skull fractures.

Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery Injuries:

Plastic Surgery Injuries and Cosmetic Surgery Injuries – While plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery deal with improving a patient’s physical appearance, the surgeon’s level of training and reasons and goals for patient outcomes are different.  Cosmetic surgery enhances the appearance of the patient.  It includes breast augmentation, facial contouring or facelift, rhinoplasty, Botox treatment, tummy tuck, laser treatment for wrinkles, and liposuction.  Cosmetic surgery training is completed after residency training and post-residency fellowship.

Plastic surgery is reconstructive in nature.  It repairs defects for the purpose of reconstructing a normal appearance or fixing improperly working body parts.  It includes cleft palate repair, burned skin repair, breast reconstruction after trauma such as a mastectomy, scar reduction or revision, and extremity defect repair or reconstruction. Plastic surgeons train in a post-graduate residency program requiring either 3 years of general surgery and 3 years of plastic surgery experience, or a 5-year residency program in general surgery followed by the 3-year plastic surgery residency program.

Common medical problems that arise from both plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery include:

Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery Surgical Injuries:

  • Nerve Damage – Though numbness or tingling are often common after plastic or cosmetic surgery, they can also indicate nerve damage.
  • Complications from General Anesthesia – Anesthesia complications can include stroke, heart attack, and even death.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis – Sometimes, patients develop blood clots in their leg(s) during surgery known as deep vein thrombosis.  Occasionally, these clots travel to the lungs.  This pulmonary embolism is dangerous and often fatal.
  • Blood Loss – Excessive surgical blood loss leads to a severe dip in blood pressure and can be fatal. It can also lead to a second surgery to repair an internal injury.
  • Nerve or Organ Damage – Liposuction is particularly prone to causing punctures or visceral perforations to the patient’s organs or nerves. These injuries usually require additional surgery and may even lead to death.

Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery Post-Surgery Injuries:

  • Infection – Cellulitis and internal infections are complications of plastic or cosmetic surgery.
  • Hematoma – This blood pocket looks like a large, dark bruise and is common after a facelift and breast augmentation procedures. Hematomas sometimes requires additional surgery to drain the blood.
  • Seroma – This large blister occurs when blood serum pools beneath the surface of the skin. It often accompanies a tummy tuck and causes swelling and moderate to severe pain. Because seromas frequently become infected, they require a drainage procedure, though there is a chance of recurrence afterward.
  • Scarring – Plastic or cosmetic surgery is intended to improve the patient’s appearance, so post-surgery scars are especially upsetting.
  • General Appearance Dissatisfaction – Though many people are content with the results of their cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery, disappointment with the outcome is a possibility.

It’s important to note that not all of the above complications qualify as malpractice. When a physician fails to do what other clinicians would do in a similar situation and the result harms the patient, then malpractice is considered.  That’s why it’s important to speak to an attorney as soon as you experience a medical injury.

Other Medical Injuries:

The following are bona fide medical complications, but do not fall under the umbrella of Medical Malpractice.  Therefore, these have a four-year statute of limitations rather than the two years allowed in medical malpractice cases:

Medical Device Product Liability – When a medical device is defectively designed or fails to work as stated, this is technically not a medical malpractice.  Rather it is a legal action against the medical device product manufacturer. If the manufacturer of the device knew or reasonably should have known of the product’s defect, they are liable to the victims.

Pharmacy Prescription Drug Errors – If the pharmacy makes a prescription drug error, this is not a medical malpractice, but is rather an action against the pharmacy.  Such a case would fall under Florida’s personal injury statutes.

Laser Hair Removal Injuries – Laser hair removal can be dangerous when not performed by an experienced technician. Interestingly, a person who performs laser hair removal does not need to hold a medical degree. Laser hair removal injury victims have the right to bring a legal action against the person or establishment who performed their procedure. If a doctor was involved, their case would fall under Florida’s medical malpractice statutes. If no medical facility was involved, it would fall under Florida’s personal injury laws. Common laser hair removal injuries include:

  • Lingering redness
  • Painful sores or blisters
  • Second and third-degree burns
  • Shock
  • Blood loss
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Wounds that won’t heal

If you were injured or if a loved one was killed by Medical Malpractice, Dental Malpractice, or Medical Negligence, you have the right to a qualified attorney who is skilled in Florida’s complex malpractice law and is knowledgeable about your type of injuries. Call (863) 287-6388 in Polk County or (813) 287-6388 in Hillsborough County or Pinellas County today to schedule a free confidential consultation with an experienced Medical Malpractice lawyer at Dean Burnetti Law.