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What Fields Does Medical Malpractice Most Commonly Occur in?

Published on Mar 26, 2019 at 2:10 pm in Medical Malpractice.

No matter what type of medical procedure you’re having done, you expect to leave the hospital or medical facility in a better condition than when you arrived. This, however, doesn’t always happen. A study by The New England Journal of Medicine determined the areas where medical malpractice claims were most often filed. The list included fields like surgery, internal medicine, and neurology.

When a patient is harmed by a negligent physician, the consequences can be severe. If you’re planning on undergoing a procedure, you should know how high your risks are and which medical fields tend to be the most dangerous when it comes to medical mistakes.

Anesthesiology

This branch of medicine manages pain for patients before, during, and after surgery. The subspecialties include critical care medicine, hospice and palliative care, pain medicine, pediatric anesthesiology, and sleep medicine.

Prior to surgery, an anesthesiologist is responsible for evaluating a patient and using their medical records to determine what type of anesthesia to use and the dosage. During surgery, the physician is supposed to monitor the patient and ensure their respiration is where it’s supposed to be. When mistakes are made, brain damage or unnecessary pain is possible.

Emergency Medicine

Physicians who specialize in emergency medicine focus on making immediate decisions and taking actions to save lives and prevent further injury. These individuals direct emergency medical technicians and assist patient once they’ve arrived in the emergency room. Critical care medicine, medical toxicology, pain medicine, and sports medicine are just a few examples of subspecialties.

Emergency rooms can be chaotic, which can lead to preventable mistakes. Doctors and nurses risk becoming overwhelmed when departments are tasked with a traumatic event and their regular patient load.

Family Medicine 

Instead of focusing on a specific organ or function of the body, family medicine focuses on integrated care to treat patients as a whole. Comprehensive health care is key in this field. Physicians in this area of medicine treat all ages. They are trained to treat most ailments.

Doctors who practice family medicine are often on tight schedule. May appointments are scheduled only 15 to 30 minutes apart. When you add in the paperwork doctors have to fill out for every patient they see, there’s not much time to speak with and diagnose a someone. As such, doctors could miss key symptoms and patient could leave with incorrect recommendations.

Internal Medicine  

An internist is a doctor who provides patients with long-term and comprehensive care in offices and hospitals. They treat diseases of the heart, vascular system, kidneys, blood, digestive system, joints, and respiratory system. They can also address disease prevention, mental health, wellness, and substance abuse. There is a long list of subspecialists, including endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious disease, oncology, rheumatology, and transplant hepatology.

Just as with family medicine, internists are often on tight schedules. Because the care is so comprehensive, the practicing physicians are required to know an exorbitant amount of information. If a doctor is inexperienced with a certain area of medicine and neglects to ask for a second opinion, injuries are possible.

Neurology

This medical field deals with the nerves and the nervous system. Neurologists diagnose and treat diseases and conditions involving the brain, spinal cord, muscles, peripheral nerves, blood vessels, and autonomic nervous system. Common conditions doctors treat include strokes, spinal cord conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, and seizure disorders. Some of the subspecialties include child neurology, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and vascular neurology.

The nervous system is extremely complicated. When the brain or spinal cord are involved, doctors need to take extra care and ensure they are treating a patient to the best of their ability. A small mistake could result in paralysis or cognitive disabilities.

Surgery 

When a physician decides to pursue a career in the surgical field, they have the option to become a general surgeon or pursue a subspecialty for a specific area of the body, type of surgery, or type of patient. General surgeons receive broad training and are able to perform a variety of life-saving procedures.

Surgeons need to be precise and focused the entire time they are working on a patient. A minor distraction or communication mix-up could result in serious injuries.

While it’s important to note which medical fields see the highest number of errors, patients need to be aware that instances of medical malpractice can happen anywhere. From the doctor’s office to the emergency room, there’s always the risk that a negligent physician will make a mistake and harm a patient. If you believe you’ve suffered because of a doctor or hospital’s mistake, Welsh & Welsh PC, LLO, is prepared to help you seek justice. Get in touch with one of our lawyers today.