Types of Medical Professionals That Can Be Liable for Malpractice

Virtually any medical professional has the potential to be sued for malpractice. As long as the plaintiff can prove that treatment or care provided by the medical professional was negligent and it resulted in serious harm, there may be a case.

Whatever the circumstances and whatever the field, if the standard of care owed to a patient was breached in some way, the victim may be entitled to damages such as those for: 

  • medical costs;
  • missed time from work;
  • disability;
  • pain and suffering; and
  • disfigurement.

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Plastic Surgeons

Plastic surgery can include skin grafts for burn victims, reconstruction to correct a birth defect or cosmetic procedures to reduce body fat. These are delicate and complicated types of surgeries that come with risks.

However, a plastic surgeon could be liable for injuries that are outside the scope of normal complications. This can include a patient who develops an infection because of unsanitary conditions, a severely botched nose job, or injecting too much Botox, for example.

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Surgeons

Similarly, errors made during an invasive procedure can result in a number of complications from: infection and organ damage to the necessity of additional surgeries. One of the issues that make this type of negligence especially serious is that it can take weeks or even months before the mistake is detected.

Common examples of surgical errors include: 

  • operating on the wrong site on the body
  • operating on the wrong patient;
  • leaving a foreign object inside the body; and
  • accidentally puncturing an artery or vessel. 

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Anesthesiologists

One of the biggest risks to a patient having surgery is being put under anesthesia. While some complications of anesthesia may not be the result of negligence, there are circumstances where negligence plays a role.

This might include not reviewing the patient’s medical history to check for allergies or health problems that may interfere. Two more examples are inadequately monitoring the patient and not noticing a change in vital signs. 

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Doctors/Specialists

Doctors and specialists are many times the ones who diagnose a patient. Although there isn’t always a clear-cut formula that determines the health condition from which a patient is suffering, some diagnostic mistakes are preventable. This might include a misdiagnosis, like dismissing chest pains as a panic attack rather than a heart attack.

Another type of error is a delayed diagnosis. The repercussions might be a treatable condition suddenly becoming terminal because of the delay in treatment. Or it could be that a doctor fails to diagnose the patient at all, so the condition worsens. 

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Obstetricians

There are many complications that can arise during the birthing process. Patients and their attorneys need to evaluate whether or not the complications were preventable and if the obstetrician had failed to provide a reasonable standard of care. This could include prenatal care and care provided during the labor and delivery process.

Negligent prenatal care could include prescribing a medication that is harmful in pregnancy or failing to properly monitor the baby’s and/or mother’s condition. During childbirth it could include using forceps or vacuum extraction incorrectly, or not performing an emergency C-section when it was warranted.

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Nurses

A nurse can sometimes be liable when working under a doctor who is negligent. But other times it’s a result of the nurse’s own careless actions.

A distracted or tired nurse could: 

  • administer the wrong medication;
  • improperly monitor the patient; or
  • incorrectly insert the IV line. 

Medical Professionals Liable in a Malpractice Claim: Pharmacists

Pharmacists have very serious jobs: preparing and dispensing medication. One small mistake could result in huge consequences. Examples of negligence include dispensing the wrong medication or dosage, and not accounting for harmful interactions with other drugs the patient is taking.

Determining Who to Sue in Cases of Medical Malpractice

Many other health professionals may be liable as well, including dentists. In some cases, injured patients may be unsure whom they can hold liable, and whether the hospital is liable for their injuries in addition to the healthcare professional. Talk to an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates to go over the specifics of your case, which is necessary to determine which parties are liable. Call (800) 246-4878 to contact us online.

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