For medical professionals, following rules and guidelines can mean saving lives and giving people hope. It is unfortunately also true that cutting corners can result in traumatic circumstances.
Professionals in the medical field are held to a certain level of accountability called “the standard of care.” Falling short of the standard of care can result in injury or death to patients. It is for this reason that medical malpractice claims are some of the most serious and complex cases in the legal industry.
In the state of Georgia, there are two medical error reporting programs: the Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) and the Department of Human Resources (DHR). Health care providers are required to report any mistakes to these two programs.
There’s also a voluntary Joint Commission sentinel event reporting program. Unfortunately, all three of these programs enjoy confidentiality protections from Georgia’s Peer Review Law, OCGA §§ 31-7-130 to 31-7-133. In general, that means the hospitals that report the events won’t be identified to the public.
What Things Have to Be Reported?
There are fourteen listed “events” that have to be reported by a hospital if they occur. These include:
- Sentinel events (an event that resulted in an unanticipated death or serious physical or psychological injury)
- Unanticipated death
- Injury – loss of limb
- Injury – loss of function
- Surgery – wrong patient
- Surgery – wrong body part
- Infant abduction or discharge to wrong family
- Transfusion reaction
- Equipment malfunction or misuse
- Patient missing for more than eight hours
- Assault of patient
- Labor strikes
- External (environmental) disasters
- Utilities/service failures
What Are the Most Common Mistakes?
In hospitals throughout the nation, the most common medical errors that led to malpractice claims include:
- Misdiagnosis – The occurrence of a misdiagnosis does not always result in a malpractice claim. Misdiagnosis can be the result of a wide variety of factors. What makes a misdiagnosis eligible for a lawsuit is when the medical professional failed to meet the standard of care. If the doctor in question was negligent, or failed to diagnose an illness that other doctors in the field would have, he may be held responsible.
- Medication error – When a doctor prescribes the wrong medication or dosage, or when the wrong medication is administered to a patient, it could be grounds for a lawsuit.
- Birth injury – Welcoming a new life to this world is one of the most sacred and delicate processes we ever undergo. For that reason, it’s imperative that special care be taken to support the childbirth process. When negligence or mistakes occur during labor and delivery, newborn children can be left with permanent injuries as soon as they enter the world.
These are just some of the examples of medical malpractice in the state of Georgia. Malpractice claims can happen in a wide variety of areas, and affect a great many people. If you or a loved one has been wronged in a medical malpractice incident, feel free to contact the experienced lawyers at Grant Law Office.