Nonsurgical Types of Medical Malpractice

Most everyone has heard horror stories about doctors making mistakes during surgery — for example, operating on the wrong body part or leaving instruments inside patients’ bodies. Unfortunately, there is truth behind all of these accounts, but they do not tell the whole story.

Because most of the medical malpractice stories involve surgery, you may think that you can only claim medical malpractice in relation to an operation. This is not true, though. Doctors make mistakes in other areas of medicine. Any healthcare mistake that causes you to come to harm may be grounds for a malpractice case. Here are some examples of nonsurgical medical mistakes.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries occur during labor and delivery. Both the mother and the baby can come to harm as a result. While many birth injuries are relatively minor and resolve on their own, some can cause severe conditions that can affect the rest of a person’s life. An example is cerebral palsy, which affects a child’s ability to move. The effects last into adulthood. Mistakes by the obstetric team during childbirth may result in birth injuries.

Medication Errors

Medication errors can occur at several points during the prescription process. A doctor may accidentally prescribe the wrong medication or the wrong dosage. If a nurse administers the medication in a hospital setting, he or she may give the wrong amount or confuse patients and give you the wrong medication. Pharmacists can also make mistakes in dosage amounts, medication names, or instructions to patients. To further confuse matters, different medications can have very similar names that are easy to mix up. All of which makes medication errors far too common.


Sometimes a doctor fails to diagnose a disease correctly, or the diagnosis is delayed. This can cause more pain and suffering for the patient. Misdiagnosis can allow the condition to advance further than it would have if caught early. This can mean more involved and expensive treatment for the patient and sometimes means the difference between life and death. Misdiagnosis is considered malpractice if a competent doctor should have recognized the condition for what it was right away.

Failure to Treat

Failure to treat occurs when a doctor correctly diagnoses the condition but does not exercise diligence in treating it. He or she may neglect the patient’s follow-up care, release the patient from the hospital too soon, or fail to provide a referral to a specialist. This often occurs because the doctor is overwhelmed with too many patients at once.

If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to medical malpractice, contact a lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm, to arrange to speak with an attorney about your case.