The Most Common Medical Malpractice Errors Made by Doctors (Even the Good Ones)

 Posted on February 22, 2016 in Medical Malpractice

By Timothy Tomasik

medical malpractice errors, Chicago personal injury lawyerAccording to a recent study, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Many can be attributed to hospital errors, which can make them immediate and especially critical. However, medical errors with fatal or life-altering consequences do not just occur in hospitals; they can happen in doctor’s offices and clinics as well. Wherever the error happens, the mistakes are often the same, and even the best of doctors can make them.


Of all the medical mistakes, misdiagnosis is, by far, the most common. In fact, according to research studies, some 15 percent of conditions are initially misdiagnosed, with urinary tract infections, cancer, congestive heart failure, and acute renal failure being the most common. And, based on a survey from Consumer Reports, these misdiagnoses occur twice as often in doctor’s offices than in hospitals.

Right Condition, Wrong Patient

Even if a doctor manages to diagnose a condition accurately, patients are still at risk for being treated incorrectly. Far too often, patients with similar names or similar information are confused and are, sadly, mistreated. They may be given the wrong medication, a medication they are allergic to, or could even receive a surgery they did not need.

Receiving the Wrong Medication

Failure to provide the proper medication, or administering or prescribing a drug a patient is allergic to is not reserved just for those that are treated as the wrong patient. Even if a patient is identified correctly, miscommunication, improper charting, a patient’s failure to disclose all medications or allergies, and oversight can also cause a patient to receive a medication that either causes a bad drug interaction or an allergic reaction. The best prevention is full disclosure, but even then, there is still a risk.

Poor Hygiene and/or Sanitation Failures

When a patient walks into a doctor’s office, he or she has no way of knowing what the patient before them might have carried in with them. Basic cleaning may be done between each patient, but full sanitation may not take place until the next day. For those with a compromised immune system, this can be a disastrous situation. But even those that are fairly healthy may be at risk if any of the prior patients had a highly contagious condition.

Communication Failures between Doctors

If you have more than one doctor, it is absolutely critical that they communicate both frequently and effectively. Unfortunately, they often do not, and patients are the ones to pay the price. Medications and treatments administered may cause a negative interaction. Or, just as dangerous, the treatment may not be sufficient enough to deal with the condition. As such, patients should always be diligent to ensure they provide their entire history and current treatments to each doctor.

When Defensive Medicine becomes Harmful Medicine

Most doctors today will admit to using defensive medicine on their patients. Unlike preventative treatment, defensive medicine goes above and beyond, sometimes utilizing more tests, procedures, medications, and treatments than what is needed. This may not always be dangerous, but those that use radiation, such as CT scans, MRI scans, and X-rays can have a cumulative effect and put patients at unnecessary risk.

Expecting More from Your Doctor

Yes, doctors are human. Yes, it is possible for them to make mistakes. But, as medical professionals, they are (and should be) held to a higher set of standards. After all, the life of every patient they treat is in their hands. Expecting them to be accountable for their choices, decisions, and mistakes is not too much to ask. Neither is expecting them to financially compensate for the injuries or deaths they have caused.

At Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, we offer compassionate, comprehensive services to those who have been injured or killed at the hands of those meant to heal. Skilled and experienced in the complex workings of medical malpractice cases, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys reconstruct the details of your case and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way. Call 312-605-8800 and schedule your free initial consultation today to learn more.


Share this post:
  • Badges and associations
  • Badges and associations

Call Us312-605-8800fax312-605-8808

161 North Clark Street, Suite 3050
Chicago, IL 60601

Back to Top