Examples of Negligence in a Hospital Setting

March 7, 2023

Recognizing examples of negligence in a hospital setting can help you identify when you have been affected. Learn more about hospital negligence and what it looks like. Find out what you can do when you or a loved one have been harmed by medical malpractice. 

Examples of Hospital Negligence

Hospital negligence exists in many forms. You can be harmed through medication errors and surgical errors. Other forms of hospital negligence include failing to hire enough staff and security issues. If you have been harmed by hospital negligence, a lawyer can help you recover the damages you deserve.

Medication Errors and Improper Treatment

One type of hospital negligence arises when doctors or nurses administer the wrong drug to the patient. There are several times during patient care when this error can occur. Generally, medication errors occur at one of the following times:

  • Administering
  • Dispensing
  • Documenting
  • Monitoring
  • Ordering or prescribing
  • Transcribing

The most common stages for drug errors are the prescribing and ordering stages. Ordering errors account for nearly 50% of all medication errors.

Some causes of medication errors include the following:

  • Expired product
  • Incorrect dosage form
  • Incorrect dose
  • Incorrect duration
  • Incorrect preparation
  • Incorrect rate
  • Incorrect strength
  • Incorrect timing
  • Known allergen reaction
  • Known contraindication
  • Pharmacist judgment error

You may be eligible for compensation if you or a loved one have been injured due to receiving the wrong medication. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you report your medication errors.

Surgical Errors

Neurosurgeons, and spine surgeons in particular, face the highest risk of medical malpractice claims. When successful, these malpractice claims produce verdicts with an average award of more than $1 million.

The following are examples of medical negligence involving surgical errors:

  • Wrong side surgery: The medical professional operates on the wrong side of the patient.
  • Correct side, wrong site surgery: The healthcare professional performs surgery on the correct side of the patient but in the wrong location.
  • Wrong procedure: The surgeon performs the wrong procedure on the patient.
  • Wrong patient: The medical professional performs a surgery meant for one patient on the incorrect patient. 

Surgical errors are among the most feared medical errors. Little can compare to submitting yourself to the necessary amputation of your right leg only to awaken and find the surgeon removed your left leg instead due to medical negligence.

Millions of dollars in court-ordered damages will never replace your missing limbs or compensate you for your injuries. However, these awards can help you cover necessary medical treatment. This treatment can be crucial to helping you live a fulfilling life.

Inadequate Staffing

Inadequate staffing is one example of negligence in a hospital setting. It is considered one of the root causes of medical malpractice. Hospitals sometimes reduce their nursing staff to decrease their overhead costs. However, this strategy can backfire on hospitals. Having nursing staff numbers fall below target levels is connected to increased mortality within a hospital.

It is easy to understand how inadequate staffing can lead to an increased risk of medical negligence. Staffing shortages can cause existing staff to feel overworked and stressed in nearly any industry. In an industry such as medicine, where a mistake can kill, being overworked and stressed can have devastating outcomes. 

Inadequate staffing-related examples of medical negligence include the following:

  • Overtime is associated with higher rates of infection.
  • Errors in medication increase mortality levels.
  • Having fewer nurses around can result in failure to rescue.

If you believe you are a victim of hospital negligence due to inadequate staffing, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice attorney can review your case and explain your legal options.

Negligent Security

Another type of hospital negligence involves insufficient security. Examples of negligence in healthcare that involve security include the following:

  • Being sexually assaulted
  • Being physically battered
  • Being verbally assaulted 

These attacks could come from medical staff, other patients, visitors, or anyone else in the hospital.

Can You Sue a Hospital for Negligence?

You can sue a hospital for negligence if it or its staff have broken their duty of care toward you. When you trust a medical professional to treat you in a hospital, that person owes you a certain standard of care. 

The standard of care is a medical and legal term that refers to how your medical practitioner should have handled your situation. The court compares the potentially negligent actions of your medical provider to how other qualified healthcare providers under the same circumstances would have behaved.

If other healthcare practitioners would not have made the same error, the court will consider your doctor or nurse to have breached their standard of care to you.

Proving that your medical practitioner owed you a duty of care and failed to deliver that care to you proves two required elements of a medical malpractice claim.

What Is the Average Compensation Amount in Hospital Negligence Cases?

Hospital negligence victims can receive compensation of up to millions of dollars. Not every claim receives this amount. Much depends on the damages and injuries you have endured due to the negligent actions.

Examples of damages the court could compensate you for include economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are those the court can assign a cost to with relative ease. These can include items that have receipts, such as hospital bills. 

Noneconomic damages are more difficult to quantify. They may include the pain you endured due to the hospital's negligence. While noneconomic damages are more challenging to assign a dollar amount to, the courts do their best to adequately compensate you for your negative experience.

Examples of economic damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future lost earnings

Examples of noneconomic damages:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

The court may provide loss of consortium to your spouse for noneconomic damages they suffer. This damage award relates to their loss of intimacy within the marital relationship.

Courts rarely issue punitive damages. However, when a court awards these damages, the reward is often substantial. Courts issue punitive damages to punish the negligent party for particularly reprehensible actions. Courts may use these damages to warn other potential offenders that they will not tolerate these types of negligent actions.

Go Over Your Options With a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If a hospital's negligent actions have harmed you or your loved one, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recover damages. Not every incident of harm to a patient is medical malpractice. However, an experienced lawyer is best suited to examine your case and present you with your legal options.

Contact the medical malpractice lawyers at McEldrew Purtell today to arrange your free, no-obligation consultation.