Common Hospital Errors: When to File a Medical Malpractice Suit

Staff Writer | July 17th, 2013

New York Medical Malpractice Lawsuit - Doctor & Hospital NegligenceMost people are more than willing to put their faith in doctors and nurses having their best interests at heart when it comes to health care. As with all jobs, however, mistakes are made. Occasionally, these mistakes are down to serious breaches of duty on the part of medical staff. Laws vary from state to state, so if you’re considering filing a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s advisable to be well-acquainted with what does and does not constitute hospital negligence.

To meet the legal definition of medical malpractice, healthcare professionals must be shown to be ill-qualified, wilfully negligent or otherwise incompetent. Just because a patient is unhappy with the outcome of a course of treatment, it does not necessarily imply doctor or hospital negligence. If, for instance, a patient dies from a pre-existing condition, and there is a question mark over a physician’s culpability, it must be proven to be “more likely than not” the fault of the doctor.

There are a few types of medical negligence that crop up more frequently than others. The following common errors may indicate eligibility for filing a New York medical malpractice lawsuit:

Surgical errors

Because surgery can be so risky, even when it goes according to plan, many malpractice claims emerge from adverse events occurring in the operating room. Surgical instruments and other foreign bodies left in the body; damage caused to internal organs; procedures performed incorrectly; infection – all of these events can occur during invasive operations.

Misdiagnosis and medication errors

Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis account for a high percentage of medical malpractice suits. In court, independent physicians will testify as to whether or not a doctor handled the situation in the appropriate way. If a specialist in the same field contends that a diagnostic error was made, the doctor responsible may be liable for negligence.

Medication errors injure around 1.5 million people in the United States every year, according to a 2006 study. There are a number of ways these errors can manifest:

  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Prescribing the incorrect dosage of the right medication
  • Incorrectly administered medication by nursing staff
  • Malfunctioning equipment, such as defibrillators and intravenous drips

Childbirth injuries

Conditions like Erb’s Palsy and Cerebral Palsy can be caused by hospital negligence during delivery and prenatal care. Common errors include:

  • Misdiagnosis of a medical condition in the mother
  • Failure to identify birth defects and ectopic pregnancies
  • Failure to respond to signs of fetal distress or complications during labor]
  • Failure to perform a cesarean section when necessary
  • Incompetent use of delivery equipment such as forceps

Anesthesia errors

Anesthesiologists who fail to investigate a patient’s medical history or drug allergies may commit malpractice. Administering the wrong dose can cause brain damage and even death.

Should I file a New York medical malpractice lawsuit?

In cases of hospital negligence, a specialist attorney can help you move forward with a lawsuit. To do this, he or she will establish whether the injury was caused by the action or inaction of medical staff and whether the injury would have occurred irrespective of those actions. If you qualify to file a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, you could be awarded compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

To find out more about filing a New York medical malpractice lawsuit, speak to an attorney from The Sanders Firm. A qualified lawyer can inform you of the advantages and disadvantages of filing a lawsuit against healthcare professionals. Contact The Sanders Firm at 1-800 FAIR PLAY for a free case evaluation.


  1. National Institutes of Health, Medical negligence: Coverage of the profession, duties, ethics, case law, and enlightened defense - A legal perspective, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779963/