5 Most Common Kinds of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical malpractice is a serious issue, and one that can result in significant harm to patients. Every year, medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. A study done in 2016 showed that there are over 250,000 deaths due to medical malpractice every year.

 If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, what legal options are available to you? This article will discuss five common kinds of medical malpractice lawsuits and what actions you can take if it happens to you.


Misdiagnosis is the number one type of medical malpractice lawsuit. This is when a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition or fails to recognize the signs and symptoms of a condition. This can lead to the wrong treatment or delayed treatment, which can have serious consequences for the patient. Misdiagnosis can lead to serious harm, or even death.

For example, imagine that a patient goes to the hospital because of chest pains and a doctor decides it’s indigestion after taking an EKG and running some tests. Then, they pass away two days later from a heart attack. In this case, the doctor misdiagnosed the patient’s condition and they died as a direct result.

Surgical Errors

Surgical errors are another of the most common types of medical malpractice lawsuits. Surgical errors happen during procedures, like operating on the incorrect body part or leaving items in a patient’s body after surgery.

For example, imagine that a patient undergoes surgery to remove a tumor from their stomach, but the surgeon accidentally removes part of their intestine instead. This would be a surgical error and could warrant a lawsuit.

Failure to Treat

Patients can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if they believe that their doctor failed to treat them properly. This can look like:


  • Discharging a patient from the hospital too soon
  • Failing to obtain necessary medical testing
  • Failing to give follow-up care instructions
  • When giving medication or therapy, failing to consider a patient’s medical history

For example, imagine that a patient goes to the hospital with a broken ankle and the doctor sets it and puts a cast on it. The doctor sends the patient home without giving them instructions on how to care for their ankle at home, and the patient accidentally worsens their injury. This is a failure on the doctor’s part to treat them properly.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries happen when a baby is not treated well during the birthing process. These kinds of injuries can include:

  • The improper use of forceps, or the excessive application of force removing a newborn from the birth canal
  • The umbilical cord wrapped around the infant’s mouth, nose, or neck
  • Failure to detect fetal distress
  • Failure to deliver a baby by C-section when it is required
  • During or after childbirth, dropping, shaking, or mishandling a baby

For example, imagine that a baby is born with a serious birth injury because the doctor did not order an emergency C-section when they should have. This counts as a birth injury and could merit a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Prescription Drug Errors

Prescription drug errors are when a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or dosages to their patient. This can happen when a doctor prescribes the wrong drug, doesn’t check for interactions with other drugs a patient is taking, or gives a patient the wrong dosage.

For example, imagine that a patient is prescribed an antibiotic for a sinus infection, but they are allergic to the antibiotic. The doctor didn’t check for any allergies and gave the patient the wrong drug. This would be a prescription drug error.

File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to seek legal help right away. Napoli Shkolnik’s medical malpractice lawyers  are experienced in representing clients in these common kinds of medical malpractice lawsuits and more.

Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your free case consultation!