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6 Common Forms Of Medical Malpractice To Watch Out For When Receiving Medical Care


Medical malpractice is an unfortunately common occurrence in the United States. Many patients who experience medical malpractice don’t even realize it until it’s too late. To help protect yourself, it’s important to be aware of the most common forms of medical malpractice and know what signs to look for.

If you or your loved one was harmed due to negligence on the part of a healthcare provider, our Seattle medical malpractice lawyers at Emerald Law Group can help. We assist injured patients and surviving family members of those who lost their lives due to medical errors.

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice

Here are the six most common forms of medical malpractice and what you should watch out for when you receive medical care.


The most common form of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis—when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition that should have been diagnosed through reasonable care or diagnoses a condition incorrectly. This can lead to delays in treatment or improper treatment altogether, both of which can have serious consequences for the patient’s health.

A 2022 report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality revealed that diagnostic errors affect more than 7 million Americans per year.

Signs that you may have experienced misdiagnosis include an incorrect diagnosis being given despite all symptoms being reported, failure by doctors to consider alternative diagnoses, and failure by doctors to order appropriate tests.

Delayed Diagnosis

Delayed diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition within a reasonable timeframe and this delay causes further harm or injury to the patient. Signs that delayed diagnosis has occurred include long wait times between tests, lack of follow-up after tests have been conducted, and lack of communication between doctors regarding test results or other findings that could indicate an underlying problem.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors occur when mistakes are made during surgery that cause harm or injury to the patient. Examples include operating on the wrong body part or organ, leaving behind instruments in the body after surgery has been completed, and performing unnecessary surgery due to misdiagnosis or incorrect diagnosis. If you experience any unusual symptoms after surgery such as pain at the surgical site that persists beyond normal healing timeframes, contact your doctor immediately as this may be an indication that something went wrong during surgery.

Medication Errors

Medication errors occur when a prescription drug is prescribed inappropriately; either too much medication is prescribed or not enough medication is prescribed for effective treatment. In some cases, medications may also interact with each other leading to adverse side effects if they are not properly monitored by healthcare professionals.

Be sure to ask your doctor about any potential drug interactions before taking multiple medications at once, and monitor yourself closely for potential side effects if multiple medications are necessary for your treatment plan.

Failure to Treat

Failure to treat occurs when a doctor fails to provide adequate treatment due to an oversight or neglect on their part. This can often result in serious health risks and long-term consequences if left untreated such as infection, disability, or even death in extreme cases. It is important therefore that any unusual symptoms be reported right away so that they can be monitored closely by healthcare professionals. If your doctor does not seem responsive it might be worth seeking a second opinion from another healthcare provider just in case something has been overlooked during the examination process.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries occur when there is trauma during childbirth caused either by an improper technique used during delivery or lack of proper monitoring prior/during the delivery process itself.

These injuries range from temporary physical trauma (bruising) to permanent disabilities (cerebral palsy). Be sure to inform your obstetrician about any previous birth injuries you may have suffered so they can take extra precautions when delivering a baby. Also, make sure all prenatal visits are scheduled on time and attended regularly throughout the pregnancy period so any potential issues can be caught early before they become more serious problems down line.

Discuss Your Case with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Being aware of these common forms of medical malpractice is key in ensuring you receive proper care while receiving medical treatment—be sure to always stay vigilant while receiving medical attention and do not hesitate to speak up if something seems off. If you have been harmed while receiving medical care, contact our lawyers at Emerald Law Group to determine if you have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Call 206-826-5160 to get a free case evaluation.


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