Medical malpractice is a leading cause of death in the U.S. and often destroys the lives of those who survive. While a negative medical outcome is not always avoidable, medical errors and negligence are. Medical malpractice laws are different in each state and they are constantly evolving.
This web page covers the basics of Tennessee Medical Malpractice Law. Read below to learn more.
Recognizing Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to live up to the standard of care and that failure causes harm.
Some medical errors, such as wrong site surgery, are obvious. Others are more difficult to detect, and may not be discovered for a long period of time. Doctors and other healthcare professional rarely speak up when they have made a mistake which has caused an injury and may even tell you that it was just a normal risk of your medical condition or procedure.
Types of Medical Malpractice
Some common examples of medical malpractice include:
- Surgical error
- Anesthesia error
- Medication error
- Emergency room malpractice
- Birth injury
- Failure to diagnose, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis of a serious illness or health event
- Nosocomial infection due to unsanitary conditions
- Failure to obtain informed consent
- Patient abandonment
- Failure to order the proper tests
- Failure to recommend a needed treatment
- Treatment which is inappropriate for the condition or patient’s medical history
- Continuing and ineffective treatment
- Dental malpractice
- Psychiatric malpractice
Responsible Parties in Medical Malpractice
Any type of healthcare professional can be held responsible for medical malpractice, not just doctors and surgeons. Facilities and institutions can also be held responsible and in some cases they are held responsible for negligence on the part of their employees.
Examples of those who can be held responsible for medical malpractice include:
- General practitioners
- Surgical staff
- Cosmetic surgeons
- Emergency rooms
- Urgent care facilities
- Outpatient facilities
- Nursing homes
- Rehabilitation centers
- Mental institutions
- Correctional facilities
Some birth injuries are unavoidable, but many are the result of obstetrical negligence. Common birth injuries caused by medical malpractice include:
- Birth brain injury, including cerebral palsy
- Brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Clavicle (collar bone) fracture
- Facial nerve injuries
- Meconium aspiration (inhaling first feces)
- Untreated jaundice
Failure to Diagnose
Failure to diagnose includes misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis.
Many types of cancer respond very well to early treatment. Failure to diagnose cancer means a delay in treatment which allows the cancer to progress to the point that it is more difficult to treat or is not treatable at all. Failure to diagnose cancer can result in treatments which are more aggressive and painful, disfigurement, and death.
Failure to diagnose health events such as stroke or heart attack can result in brain injury, paralysis, recurrence of the event, and death.