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Top ten causes of medical malpractice

It was not so long ago that talk show host David Letterman devoted a couple of minutes each night to a Top Ten list in which a politician, celebrity or a bad idea got lampooned. A recent list of the Top Ten causes of medical malpractice lawsuits is entirely serious, however.

Whenever a West Virginia resident is harmed by doctor, nurse or hospital negligence, it is far from a laughing matter. For victims of medical malpractice and their families, the damage can be painful and long-lasting. In some cases, it even means death.

Let's take a look at the list, starting with number 10: unnecessary surgery. We have many times seen news stories about doctors who perform surgeries that are not medically needed; often done by physicians involved in criminal activities such as Medicare fraud.

  • 9: leaving behind surgical instruments in patients' bodies. This happens in about one out of every 5,000 surgeries, according to the article.
  • 8: doctors who ignore follow-up care.
  • 7: lack of informed consent. This happens when doctors fail to get permission from the patient or family to perform procedures or administer treatments.
  • 6: failure to follow safety protocols and procedures. This can involve failures to order tests or check patient history, etc.
  • 5: Medication errors. Too much or too little, too often or not often enough -- and sometimes the wrong medication entirely.
  • 4: Poor documentation and patient instruction. Failure by health care providers to write it down so that other doctors (and the patient as well) can understand problems and treatment.
  • 3: Failure to treat. This refers to a failure to recognize and treat problems, order needed tests, send patients to a needed specialist, etc.
  • 2: Abnormal injury. This occurs when the treatment results in further injury, harm or damage to the patient.
  • 1: Failure to diagnose. The leading cause of medical malpractice litigation.

A medical malpractice attorney helps the victim and victim's family fight back against negligent surgeons, family doctors, nurses, hospitals and others.

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