Physicians can be sued for medical malpractice when their actions cause harm to their patients. There are many reasons a physician can be held liable in a lawsuit. In the United States, the following are five of the most common reasons that patients sue their doctors. In many cases, these causes are part of a chain of errors that place patients at greater risk of injury or death.
1. Poor Communication
Poor communication with patients or other members of the medical team can result in deficient care and poor patient outcomes. Poor communication can lead to the administration of the wrong treatment, overprescription of potentially fatal prescriptions, and avoidable pain and suffering. Physicians and members of the medical team have a duty of care that requires them to provide clear and concise information to patients and their guardians.
2. Delayed Diagnosis
Physicians who fail to thoroughly analyze a patient's injuries or suspected illness can miss critical details that correctly identify the source of the injury or illness. Doctors who fail to order the proper tests and provide a thorough examination of their patient can delay the proper diagnosis which in turn delays the proper treatment. In cases where cancer and other potentially fatal illnesses or injuries are present, this can have deadly consequences.
3. Failure to Secure Informed Consent
Patients and their caregivers have the right to be fully informed regarding the treatments administered, potential outcomes, and potential risks. Physicians who fail to secure informed consent prior to administration treatments violate their responsibility to their patients. In Illinois, physicians are required to receive consent prior to administering medication, performing surgery, or administering any form of treatment to patients.
4. Poor Record Keeping
Physicians, nurses, and administrative staff are required to keep and maintain thorough and accurate medical records. When members of the medical team fail to properly document treatments administered, prescriptions, and patient health status, these errors are often part of a larger pattern of negligent behaviors. When records are incomplete or inaccurate, they can result in improper referrals, wrong surgeries, and other forms of negligent care.
5. Improper Prescriptions
Failing to properly consider drug interactions or overprescribing opioid medications can have serious consequences. These can cause fatal drops in blood pressure, organ failure, and drug addictions. When physicians prescribe the wrong medications, a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can help patients recover compensation for the injuries that they endure.