Types of Medical Malpractice


When we go to the hospital or see a doctor, we trust that their treatment will make us better, not worse. No one should ever have to suffer from the negligent mistakes of a medical provider.

Unfortunately, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals do occasionally make negligent medical mistakes, which is called medical malpractice, and sometimes a patient physically and emotionally suffers for it. When a medical provider’s error causes a patient to suffer harm and incur financial damages, that patient may be entitled to seek monetary compensation from the negligent provider through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice cases often turn into factually and legally complex matters and such claims are often classified into categories based on the type of error made by the medical professional.

When you need help seeking the financial compensation you deserve after suffering due to medical malpractice, turn to the New York City medical malpractice attorneys of Finz & Finz, P.C. Our firm has a team of highly experienced trial lawyers with the skills and knowledge to pursue the results you deserve.

Stuart L. Finz, our firm’s senior trial attorney and CEO, has been selected as a lifetime member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, listed in the New York Law Journal report of largest verdicts, and named by New York Super Lawyers as a top trial attorney from 2007 through 2020. The Honorable Leonard L. Finz, one of the founders of Finz & Finz, P.C., is a former New York State Supreme Court Justice who has also been peer-reviewed as one of the country’s preeminent trial attorneys.

If you think you have been the victim of negligent medical care, contact Finz & Finz, P.C. to schedule a free and confidential case review with our highly experienced medical malpractice lawyers to discuss your claim.

Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis

Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis ranks among the most common causes of medical malpractice claims. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis involves a physician or other medical provider making some sort of error that leads to a patient’s medical condition remaining undiagnosed for an extended period, or diagnosed as the wrong medical condition.

As a result, a patient may continue to go without treatment, allowing the condition to worsen, requiring more aggressive or extensive treatment when the condition is finally diagnosed. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may allow the condition to advance to a terminal stage. In other cases, a patient will undergo unnecessary treatment for a condition that they actually do not have.

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can occur when a doctor fails to take a complete patient history, ignores symptoms of the true condition, fails to include the condition in the differential diagnosis, fails to order appropriate tests or fails to correctly interpret the results of tests, or fails to refer the patient to or consult with appropriate specialists.

Misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis can also be caused by the technicians who perform patient scans and tests, if they make errors in conducting the tests or communicating the results.

Pregnancy and Childbirth Injury

Medical malpractice can lead to injuries to both the child and mother during pregnancy or delivery. Fetuses and newborns are especially fragile, and can easily suffer serious injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, or paralysis if provided negligent or reckless care.

Doctors and medical providers can negligently cause pregnancy or childbirth injuries by failing to diagnose medical conditions in the mother during pregnancy (such as preeclampsia, anemia, or gestational diabetes) or diseases that could be contagious to the fetus (such as herpes or HIV), or by failing to identify birth defects that could be corrected prior to birth or to give parents the option to terminate a pregnancy with severe birth defects.

Doctors can also commit errors and malpractice during delivery by failing to anticipate and prepare for complications (such as the need for Caesarean section) due to the child’s size, by failing to react to signs of fetal distress, or by improperly using instruments that assist with delivery like forceps and thereby physically injuring the newborn.

Medication Errors

Medication errors are one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. Medication errors involve a patient being prescribed or being dispensed with the wrong drug or the wrong dosage of the right drug.

Medication errors can be committed by a physician or other prescribing professional when they fail to take a proper patient history, fail to note potential adverse interactions with a patient’s existing medication, or fail to calculate the correct dosage for the patient’s height and weight.

Errors can also be committed by pharmacists who fail to correctly read or confirm the doctor’s prescription note or who dispense the wrong medication or wrong dosage. Finally, medication errors can be committed by administering nurses who also fail to confirm the medication in hand against the prescription or who fail to confirm they are administering medication to the correct patient.

Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors can lead to serious brain injury or even death. Anesthesia errors involve the anesthesiologist administering the wrong anesthesia or wrong dose of anesthesia or failing to properly monitor the patient for signs of complications or distress during surgery.

Anesthesia errors can occur when the anesthesiologist fails to take or review the patient’s history to discover potential adverse interactions with the proposed anesthesia, makes a mistake in calculating the dose (either giving the patient too little anesthesia, which can allow the patient to become conscious during surgery, or giving the patient too much anesthesia, which can lead to physical distress), or fails to properly inform the patient of preoperative procedures.

Anesthesiology teams can also make errors in inserting equipment, like IVs or intubation tubes.

Surgery Errors

Surgical errors can either occur during the surgery itself or during postoperative care. During surgery, a surgeon may end up causing unintentional damage to tissue while making incisions (like puncturing a blood vessel or organ, or severing a nerve) or may end up leaving instruments or other materials inside a patient (usually because the surgical team fails to account for all instruments and materials used).

More serious surgical errors involve surgeons performing the wrong surgical procedure, performing the right procedure on the wrong part of the body, or performing surgery on the wrong patient.

Surgical errors can also happen when surgical teams use unsterile, defective, or broken equipment during surgery. Surgeons and nursing can also make errors in postoperative care by failing to give proper postoperative instructions to the patient, failing to monitor the patient for complications, or failing to properly care for the patient and allowing postoperative complications such as infection.

What Is Negligence and Gross Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Most medical malpractice cases involve proving that a doctor or other medical provider committed negligence. Negligence in a medical malpractice case means that a provider had a provider-patient relationship and that their treatment failed to comply with the applicable standard of care in the patient’s case (otherwise known and good and accepted medical practice), and the failure to render adequate and proper treatment directly and proximately caused the patient to suffer harm and incur compensable damages. This means that not every error committed by a medical provider qualifies as medical malpractice.

However, some medical malpractice cases involve a claim of gross negligence. Gross negligence involves a far more serious breach of the duty to render treatment in accordance with the applicable standard of care. Cases of gross negligence involve treatment that fails to comply with even the most basic medical standards and would be obvious to any medical professional as negligent or grossly negligent.

An example of gross negligence in a medical malpractice case might involve a surgeon failing to check a patient’s chart prior to surgery to confirm that the surgical procedure needs to be performed on the patient’s right leg, and instead, the surgeon performs the procedure on the patient’s left leg. Even basic medical standards would require a surgeon to confirm the procedure prior to cutting into the patient, and any medical provider would know that failing to check a patient’s chart before administering treatment constitutes negligence.

Proving that a medical provider committed gross negligence as opposed to ordinary negligence may entitle the patient to an award of punitive damages, in addition to compensatory damages for their additional medical treatment, lost wages or earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Today

If you have suffered medical malpractice at the hands of a negligent or reckless medical provider, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with the highly experienced NYC medical malpractice lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C.

Learn more about your legal rights and options and how our firm can help you and your family secure the financial compensation and justice that you need and deserve.