The practice of medicine is clearly not an exact science. Even as technology advances and health care workers are able to see into the body with more accuracy, medical errors continue to occur. Often, mistakes are made because of the ambiguity of a patient's condition, the inability to foresee the response to a particular course of therapy or the unexpected progression of a certain illness. Additionally, oversights occur because of negligence and simple human error.
The failure to recognize the presence of a disease or mistaking one ailment for another are each quite common errors made by physicians. Patients are twice as likely to receive a misdiagnosis in a doctor's office than in the hospital. Receiving an incorrect diagnosis is one of the most serious medical errors because it can result in patients enduring inappropriate treatments that may cause harm or keep them from necessary, life-saving therapy.
Other common medical errors that are commonly seen include providing a patient with another person's treatment or medication, spreading pathogens between health care workers and patients because of a failure to practice appropriate hygiene and administering the wrong dose of medication. Individuals who have more than one physician and who are being treated for different illnesses may be over-medicated or given prescriptions that create an undesired reaction when mixed.
People who have experienced physical harm resulting from medical professional negligence or who have lost a family member who died resulting from a fatal medical error may be able to receive compensation for their losses. An attorney who has experience with these types of cases may be able to help a client obtain damages through the filing of a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible parties.