Common Types of Medical Errors

common types

Doulas, midwives, nurses, doctors, obstetric specialists, hospital staffs and other medical professionals normally act in ways that do not lead to harm. However, these practitioners do make mistakes that can have tragic consequences. While looking for answers, it is important to trust your instincts and know that doctors and other medical professionals do make mistakes. These individuals can and should be held accountable for having caused harm to your child.

For a free review of your medical error case, please call (800) 462-5772 today. The experienced birth injury lawyers at Stern Law, PLLC are happy to answer your questions and provide the support you need.

Medication errors may lead to severe birth injuries

There are many forms that medication errors can take. Specifically, harm to your baby could have resulted from:

  • Anesthesia errors – The doctor may administer the incorrect anesthesia, may administer the anesthesia in the wrong dose, or may fail to monitor the effect of the anesthesia on the mother and baby. The erroneous administration of anesthesia during a pregnancy can lead to depressed heart rate in the baby, neonatal stroke, brain damage, and even death.
  • Prescription errors – Complications from prescription errors may arise from the wrong medication being prescribed, the wrong dose being ordered, drug interactions overlooked or missed, confusion between patients, and missed secondary or linked conditions. These prescription errors can result in direct harm to your baby or indirect harm through untreated infections and other medical conditions that lead to injury to your baby.
  • Pharmacy errors – Mistakes can be made in filling a prescription, including providing the wrong medication, dispensing the wrong dose, mislabeling the prescription, ignoring drug interactions or allergies, and overlooking serious side effects for a pregnant woman.
  • Medication or drug prescription errors – These involve the many mistakes that an attending physician may make, which may lead to birth injury, including:
    • Prescribing a medication that is not the right one for the condition or symptom
    • Prescribing a medication in the wrong dose, leading to an overdose or incomplete treatment
    • Prescribing a drug intended for one patient to another
    • Prescribing a drug that is harmful to the baby
    • Prescribing a drug combination that is harmful to the baby, which may occur if the doctor does not take into account other medications that you are already taking.

Medical errors that result from the use of tools or equipment

During the delivery process, tools may aid in the delivery of your baby. But the incorrect use of these medical aids can lead to serious harm. The most common types of errors involve the use of forceps or vacuum extraction and lead to head and brain trauma.

Improper use of delivery tools can lead to severe injuries for your baby, specifically:

  • Severe swelling in your baby’s head – Also known as caput succedaneum, this condition may lead to brain damage. This often is caused by use of vacuum extraction, but may be the result of prolonged pressure against the cervix.
  • Bleeding of the outer tissue layer – This tissue covers the skull bone often between the parietal bone of the skull and the tough tissue layer known as the periosteum. This blood may take several months to be reabsorbed. Use of forceps or vacuum extraction is often the cause of this condition, known as cephalohematoma. Although treatment may not be necessary, in severe cases, it can lead to brain injury.
  • Bruising and lacerations – These often are caused by the use of forceps or vacuum extraction, but lacerations and other injuries may occur from the slice of a scalpel during a cesarean section.
  • Facial nerve paralysis – Often caused by prolonged pressure on the facial nerves by the use of forceps during delivery. This harm may be long-term or may clear up after a few weeks or months.
  • Intracranial hemorrhage – This results from broken blood vessels in your baby’s skull and can lead to seizure disorder, brain injury, and failure to thrive. This condition may result from the use of forceps or vacuum extraction.

Other common forms of medical errors

Administrative and system errors may also relate to the following mistakes:

  • Admission and intake;
  • Breach of confidentiality;
  • Staffing;
  • Policies and procedures;
  • Record keeping;
  • Safety, security and sanitation.

As evident from the above, medical errors may take many different forms. They result from the fact that pregnancy and delivery involve various complex processes and people, all of us, even the most qualified and experienced doctors, make mistakes. It’s been said that, “to err, is human.” If a medical error resulted in harm to your baby, then the medical professionals responsible need to take full responsibility for those mistakes in order to provide the care and long-term medical treatment, adaptive and assistive technology, therapy, and other programs to ensure your child can achieve their fullest potential.

Please call Stern Law, PLLC at (800) 462-5772 for a free evaluation of your case today.

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