Georgia doctors generally take an oath of ethics known as the Hippocratic Oath before they can practice medicine. While the words “do no harm,” are not technically in the oath, doctors essentially try to abide by these words by always treating their patients with reasonable care. Unfortunately, some doctors do end up harming their patients by engaging in some form of medical negligence. Here are a few common types of medical negligence.
Failure to diagnose
When a patient first comes in for care, the first step is often to determine what is causing the patient’s symptoms. Diagnosing a disease often requires observations, testing, procedures, and research. Doctors may be medically negligent during the diagnosis phase if they:
- Fail to consider all conditions when constructing a differential.
- Fail to require all necessary testing.
- Fail to consider all symptoms.
- Misdiagnose a patient.
- Fail to diagnose a patient in a timely manner.
Failure to obtain informed consent
Unless it is an emergency, doctors are generally required to obtain informed consent from their patient or patient’s guardian before performing a procedure or treatment. This means that the doctor must explain the benefits and risks of the procedure and alternative treatments in a way the patient can understand. Failure to provide the necessary information for the patient to make an informed decision or performing a procedure without consent could constitute medical negligence.
Doctors may also engage in negligence during an operation. Some common forms of surgical negligence include:
- Poor hygiene resulting in infection.
- Leaving sponge or other foreign object in patient’s body.
- Performing unnecessary operation (e.g., operation on wrong part of the patient’s body).
- Providing improper amount of anesthetic.
Prescribing medication is a key part of the doctor’s job. However, failing to provide the right medicine is a common form of medical negligence. Medication errors include:
- Prescribing incorrect dosage of medication.
- Prescribing incorrect type of medication.
- Failing to consider patient’s allergies when prescribing medication.
- Prescribing two medications that do not work together.
If your doctor has not provided you with the care you are entitled to, consider speaking to a personal injury attorney. Your attorney can advise you on whether you have a strong case for medical malpractice.