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The Most Common Medical Malpractice Claims

No doctor is expected to never make mistakes. However, the medical industry sets standards of care that must be obeyed by all healthcare professionals. If a doctor or another practitioner falls short of these standards of care and a patient is injured as a result, it is known as medical malpractice. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit in pursuit of compensation in Texas if you or a loved one was injured by any type of medical malpractice.

Diagnostic Errors

A key aspect of medicine is correctly diagnosing a patient’s injury, illness or medical condition. Coming to an accurate diagnosis is the only way to properly treat the patient’s condition. In general, the medical standard of care for making a diagnosis is the differential diagnosis method.

Differential diagnosis is a list of possible conditions that a patient could have based on the symptoms described, which is then narrowed down to the most likely diagnosis by conducting various medical tests to eliminate other possibilities.

If a doctor fails to adhere to the standard of care when making a diagnosis, it can result in misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose. These diagnostic errors can interfere with a patient receiving the treatment and care that he or she needs.

Medication Mistakes

Millions of people rely on prescription medications to help manage and alleviate their symptoms and conditions. If a prescription administered is the incorrect drug or dosage, or if a drug is given to the wrong patient, the results can be disastrous.

Taking the wrong medicine can lead to adverse drug interactions, overdoses, underdoses, or allergic reactions that may be fatal. In addition, taking the wrong drug means that a patient is not receiving the correct drug, which could be detrimental to his or her health.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are a type of medical malpractice where a surgeon or member of a surgical team deviates from the standard of care during a procedure. These errors can occur at any stage of the surgical process, from planning for the operation beforehand to providing postoperative care after.

Common types of surgical errors include:

  • Failing to obtain informed consent
  • Operating on the wrong patient or body part
  • Performing the wrong surgery
  • Performing unnecessary surgery
  • Leaving surgical instruments or foreign objects inside the patient’s body
  • Damaging surrounding tissues, nerves or organs
  • Failing to provide proper preoperative or postoperative care

Surgical errors can be prevented by ensuring proper communication among the medical team, as well as safety protocols such as counting all surgical instruments and double-checking a patient’s chart. Surgeons must also be properly trained, qualified, and not distracted or fatigued.

Anesthesia Mistakes

Anesthesia mistakes are errors made while administering anesthesia to a patient for a surgical procedure. They include intubation errors, administering too much or too little anesthesia, mixing the incorrect type of anesthesia for a patient, and failing to monitor the patient’s vital signs while under anesthesia. Anesthesia errors can lead to serious and even fatal injuries, including severe brain damage.

Failure to Treat

If a healthcare provider fails to provide appropriate medical care to a patient, it is known as negligent failure to treat. This can involve failure to diagnose a condition, delayed treatment, refusal to treat, inadequate treatment or failure to follow up. Failure to treat can result in more severe medical conditions, additional medical bills, reduced quality of life and even death.

Retained Surgical Items

Retained surgical items refer to foreign objects or surgical instruments inadvertently left behind in a patient’s body cavity after surgery. This is a significant patient safety concern, as retained foreign objects can lead to chronic pain, infection, organ damage, obstruction, and discomfort.

Despite protocols and safety measures in place to prevent these incidents, retained surgical sponges, scalpels, scissors, needles, cotton swabs, and other items injure patients each year. Surgical counting, standardized protocols, and the use of new technology can help prevent this type of medical malpractice.


While not every infection suffered by a patient is medical malpractice, an infection could lead to a lawsuit if there is evidence that a healthcare provider should have done more to prevent it from occurring.

Infections often arise from negligent or substandard care from health care providers, such as the use of contaminated tools, dirty premises, or poor postoperative care. Common types are surgical site infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries occur when a doctor makes a mistake during the process of labor and delivery, resulting in injury to the mother or infant.

Examples include:

  • Medication or anesthesia mistakes
  • Inadequate monitoring of the mother or baby
  • Failure to recognize fetal distress
  • Delay in performing a C-section
  • Surgical mistakes during C-sections
  • Improper use of birth-assistive tools

Birth injuries can have long-term consequences for a child, including brain damage, brachial plexus injuries, cerebral palsy, bone fractures, facial nerve injuries, and paralysis.

Do You Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you were hurt due to preventable mistakes made by a healthcare professional in Texas, you may be dealing with serious injuries, pain and discomfort, or a permanent disability. You may have significant medical bills and lost wages from the incident. Filing a medical malpractice claim can allow you to move forward with the compensation you need.

A medical malpractice claim is based on the elements of a duty of care, a breach of the duty of care, causation, and damages. Evidence must show that the doctor or health care provider owed the patient a responsibility to adhere to medical standards of care, fell short of this duty, and caused the patient’s injury.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney in Austin can help you understand whether you have the right to file a claim. If so, your lawyer can help you with the legal processes involved in filing a lawsuit and proving malpractice. An attorney can negotiate a fair settlement or take your case to trial to seek the best possible results for your case.

To schedule a free consultation with an Austin personal injury lawyer about a medical malpractice claim, contact FVF Law at (512) 640-2146. Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience and are dedicated to educating you on your legal rights and options for your case.


Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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