Most Common Florida Medical Errors

Medical Errors do happen.  

Wrong dose or frequency may be inadvertently prescribed due to writing the wrong unit of measure or using confusing medical abbreviations. A doctor may leave out a critical letter in an acronym or use one wrong letter, so that a drug meant to be taken once every other day, or QOD, may mistakenly be prescribed QID, which means four times per day. Such an error could prove fatal.

  • Nurse gives patient wrong medication, dose or frequency.The nurse may mistakenly give medication intended for one patient to another patient, misread the prescription and administer the wrong dose or frequency.
  • A pharmacist dispenses wrong medication.  A pharmacist may confuse medications with similar names or abbreviations, especially if a doctor has poor handwriting.
  • A combination of the above. Doctors should spell out the full name of medications they are prescribing and write them clearly. They should also avoid using abbreviations for dosages and frequencies to prevent inadvertent errors. The wrong medication, dose or frequency can cause an adverse physiological reaction, including death.

Wrong site surgery | Medical Errors

This error is caused when surgery is performed on a healthy arm or leg, when an incision is made or when an incision is made in the wrong location. The results can be devastating, such as in the case of amputating the wrong, or healthy, leg. This would still require the damaged leg to eventually be removed, causing the patient to become a double amputee. Mistakes like this can happen for a number of reasons, including;

  • Multiple physicians. Being in the care of more than one doctor increases the possibility of error due to miscommunication or lack of communication.
  • Multiple patients. Having patients undergoing similar procedures can cause doctors to mistake one patient for another.
  • Multiple procedures. Performing multiple surgeries in a single event, especially when both sides of the body are involved, increases the risk of operating on the wrong side and on the wrong organs.
  • Working against the clock. Having to rush through surgery before the anesthesia wears off can cause errors that having additional time would prevent.

Misdiagnosis | Medical Errors

A misdiagnosis can occur when:

  • Doctor misinterprets the patient’s symptoms;
  • Lab mixes up blood samples;
  • Test results are misinterpreted; or
  • A doctor diagnoses a patient without performing all possible tests.

A misdiagnosis can also occur when a patient presents with symptoms common to a number of different illnesses. Without identifying additional symptoms or conducting further testing to rule out one illness or another, a patient may be diagnosed with the wrong illness and be treated accordingly. Some common medical conditions are over-diagnosed, whiles less common ones are under-diagnosedIn addition, symptoms may sometimes be masked or exacerbated by medications, proving it difficult to make an accurate diagnosis. A doctor should always obtain a patient’s complete medical history, including current medications, before making a final diagnosis. If a patient has symptoms common to one illness, the doctor should take note of any unique or unusual symptoms that are not typical of that illness. It may be an indication that the patient is suffering from something else.

Treatment delay | Medical Errors

Sometimes patients are waiting in the emergency or hospital room for much longer than they should be. This could be due to:

  • Understaffed hospital;
  • Overcrowded facility;
  • Delayed test results;
  • Inadequate staff training; or
  • Misinterpretation of patient’s systems

Sometimes there are not enough doctors on site to tend to each patient in a timely manner, especially when there is an overwhelming number of patients who need care simultaneously. There may simply not be enough room or beds for each patient. There could also be a lack of adequate staff, which can cause delays during intake. Treatment delays can also occur when the patient’s symptoms are not taken seriously or misinterpreted as non-urgent. This can be an egregious error, and there have been incidents of patients dying in the emergency room after hours of waiting for treatment.

Complications during or after surgery

There are a number of reasons complications can occur during or after an operation, which can cause complications. For example:

  • Miscommunication among physicians or between physicians and staff
  • Failure to follow established procedure
  • Inadequate assessment of patient’s needs
  • Undertrained staff
  • Understaffing

Sometimes a new problem is discovered during an operation that should have been noticed with adequate pre-operative preparation and testing. An incision can be made slightly off its mark, which can cause excessive bleeding. Surgeons should expect the unexpected, and there should always be adequate staff and equipment on hand to handle such situations. The patient should also have adequate follow-up care. Sometimes post-surgery complications result when there are infections at the incision site, when a surgical tool is accidentally left inside the patient, or when prescribed medications cause an adverse reaction.

Lack of patient preparation

A doctor should always take all the necessary steps and precautions when preparing a patient for any procedure. The patient should be given full disclosure and be advised of all possible risks associated with the procedure, including the risk that may be uncommon but still dangerous. A patient must always make informed consent prior to any treatment procedure. Lack of information can mislead a patient to give consent without a full understanding of the risks involved. Sometimes patients consent to surgery that they would not have consented to hand they known all the dangers involved. If a patient suffers a negative consequence whose possibility was known to the doctor but not disclosed to the patient, the doctor can be held liable for medical malpractice.

Adequate preparation also means patients should be advised about what they can or can’t eat or drink prior to surgery. Patients on medications may have to come off of the medication or switch to another medication in the weeks leading up to surgery. For example, a patient should not be on blood thinners prior to surgery because they can end up bleeding to death during surgery. Patients who need to stop or switch medications should be advised accordingly, and final tests should be administered prior to surgery to confirm everything is in order.

Lack of patient supervision

A patient should be well tended to. A nurse or doctor should make frequent checks on the patient, especially if the patient is frail if an illness is particularly aggressive or the patient has mental problems. An unattended patient can faint, fall and break bones or escape from the hospital room. In extreme cases, patients with mental conditions can, when left unattended, cause harm to others or themselves. A patient can commit homicide or suicide. Any patient with a history of mental disorders should be under constant supervision.

Equipment failure

Sometimes the very machines that are supposed to save lives simply don’t work. A faulty heart defibrillator, for example, might not deliver the requisite shock, or a heart monitor can be on the fritz. Patients exposed to faulty machinery can be seriously injured or die. Machines that run on batteries should be routinely checked and the batteries frequently replaced. Intravenous, or IV, drips should be checked often to make sure they are not dislodged. Old or outdated equipment should be replaced. All hospital machinery, especially tools and equipment that are not often used, should be frequently serviced and maintained to make sure they are in proper working order when they do have to be used.Hospital staff should be trained so they know how to properly use all equipment.

Training should be frequently updated, especially when new machines are delivered. Improper use can also lead to equipment failure. A machine might be plugged into the wrong device or give incorrect readings based on misuse.Sometimes patients are implanted with devices like pacemakers or hip implants that don’t work or stop working after some time. The full dangers of certain implants are not discovered until after they have already been inserted into the patient. Other times the device is faulty to being with but not sufficiently examined. Either scenario can lead to a lawsuit for liability against the hospital, doctors and other medical staff.

Lack of adequate testing

Sometimes patients complain of problems that are mistaken for common, non-threatening conditions. These patients may be discharged with a simple prescription for pain medication and instructions to follow-up if problems persist. The patient may not be given anything more than a blood test. Lack of further testing can lead to an incorrect diagnosis and early discharge. Sometimes doctors underestimate or ignore the severity of the patient’s symptoms.For example, a patient complaining of severe lower abdomen pain may be discharged without a CT scan, even though a blood test reveals a slightly elevated white blood cell count.

While this indicates the body is fighting something, a doctor might dismiss it as nothing serious and discharge the patient. That patient may, in fact, have an inflamed appendix, which a CT scan would reveal. Without the CT scan, the discharged patient can die of a burst appendix.Unfortunately, patients who do not have insurance or adequate financial means are likely to be the victims of insufficient testing, misdiagnosis and early discharge.

Unnecessary testing

On the other side of the coin is too much testing. Some patients are over-tested and exposed to unnecessary tests, some of which are very risky. A patient complaining of arm pain or a headache should not be immediately subjected to a number of tests without further questioning and prodding. Unnecessary x-rays can cause too much unnecessary exposure to dangerous amounts of radiation, which can significantly increase a patient’s risk of getting cancer. The same is true with CT scans. CT scans and MRIs both use a day the can damage the kidneys. Extra testing can also cause infections and other adverse effects.The doctor should administer high-risk tests only when absolutely necessary to determine what is wrong with the patient and only after standard testing proves inadequate.

The patient should be advised of why each test is being performed and what the risks associated with each test are.Medical professionals are bound by an oath to protect patients and not cause them harm. They should take extreme care to follow all procedures and be attentive to the patient’s needs at all times. Medical errors can cause irreversible damage and death. It can also lead to lawsuits.If you or a loved one are the victims of Medical Errors such as one described above, be sure to contact the law firm of Neufeld, Kleingerg, & Pinkiert, PA. They will evaluate your case and determine whether you have a viable claim for liability. Do not suffer in silence.

Over 100 Years of Combined Personal Injury Experience in Florida

Start My Claim(305) 931-6666

Reviews

QuoteQuote

Met with Robert after I had a car accident in Pembroke Pines. Very nice man. Nice staff who answered my questions and got a good settlement.

Paula A.

Great lawyers, great attention to detail, great trial strategies. I am a trial consultant who has worked with the top attorneys in the United States. NKP are the best of the best.

Amy Singer, Ph.D, Trial Consultant

Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA handled my case against Uber for me and got me a great settlement after I was involved in an accident. They handled all of the negotiations with my doctors and with the other lawyers to get me the best deal possible. I definitely recommend their services!

Daniella Di Prizio


You Only Pay Legal Fees if We Win a Settlement

Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA handles a variety of personal-injury cases. We understand that you are concerned about getting healthy, getting back to work, paying your bills and of course, being fully compensated for your loss. Contact us to start the path to wholeness from your injury today.

Get Consultation
  • NEVER Pay A Fee Unless
    We Win Your Case
  • Highly Experienced & Professional Representationur
  • Start Your Claim Off With A FREE Case Evaluation
  • Get Back To NORMAL... As Soon As Possible

Request a Free Consultation

All Consultations Are Free of Charge

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
Avvo Rating 10
Top 100 US Verdicts
Super lawyers

Helping those
Injured in Accidents
Across Florida

While we are proud to call Miami and Aventura home, we are also more than happy to help injured people living anywhere in the Sunshine State. In fact, we’ve even been known to travel all around the country just to meet our clients’ needs.

We are here to help the residents of:

Recent Articles from the Blog

Does Uber Have Insurance? What Happens If I'm In An Accident?

Does Uber Have Insurance? The short answer is yes, but the coverage can be confusing. Here is what you need to know if you get in an Uber accident. Florida's mandatory no-fault insurance requirements impact the exact steps you need to take after an Uber accident.

October 5, 2021

The Insurance Company Says I'm At-Fault For The Car Accident. Can I Still File A Claim?

If an insurance company claims you are at-fault for a car accident, but the evidence says otherwise, you can still pursue a personal injury claim. It is important to note that, regardless of which scenario best reflects your case, your ability to file a claim relies on what the evidence says and what can be proven in court far more than it relies on what the

October 5, 2021

Can I Still Win My Personal Injury Case With A Pre-Existing Injury?

The good news is that you can still win your personal injury case with a pre-existing injury, but it might be a little more complicated. If you were injured in an incident where another party is at fault, such as a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or a case of medical malpractice, you deserve compensation for your injuries.

August 14, 2021

The Most Common Boating Injuries and What To Do After an Accident

Boating can be one of the most enjoyable activities in Florida. However, what is your recourse if you or a loved one is hurt due to a negligent boating accident? Our team of experienced attorneys can help you receive compensation from a negligent boater to assist with medical bills or property damage. Here are the most common types of boating injuries, what

June 8, 2021

Understanding Differences Between Product Liability and Lemon Law

It's incredibly disappointing to find out that a major purchase like a car has a substantial flaw or defect. When that flaw or defect impacts the mechanical function of the vehicle, it can be a lot more than disappointing — it can be deadly. Product liability and lemon law are two areas of the law that help protect consumers from manufacturing issues that re

May 20, 2021

What You Need To Understand About PTSD After A Car Crash

Car accidents can be difficult situations to endure. In many circumstances, these accidents often bring about physical and mental trauma. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general population.

April 8, 2021