While medical science has continued to develop extensively in recent years, negligence in health care still takes its place quite frequently. According to Morgan & Morgan’s attorneys, negligence is defined as “the failure to act with the same amount of care that a reasonable medical professional would have acted within the same situation” (Morgan & Morgan, 2019, para. 6). The recent research shows that 250.000 cases of doctors or nurses’ failure in providing proper medical treatment, known as malpractice, happen every year (Meinhart, Smith & Manning, 2019). The purpose of this paper is to analyze preventive measures of negligence and the importance of the regulatory law’s observation through the example of three legal cases.
The negligence in health care practice can occur in various types of medical treatment, causing severe malpractice and patients’ health impairment. The most common medical errors, the malpractice caused by the doctors’ negligence are childbirth injuries, surgery errors (the surgery on incorrect parts), the misdiagnosis (failure to recognize the actual health issue). The medication errors (the prescription of inappropriate medicine or overdose), delayed diagnosis, anesthesia errors, and the retaining of foreign surgical objects inside patients (such as scalpels, drapes, sponges, and needles) are defined among the mistakes as well.
The first case for the evaluation of the medical error prevention will be an example of negligence that caused the misdiagnosis and the delayed diagnosis. According to Fieldfisher (2019), the patient Ben attended the Homerton Hospital in August. After the investigation by the junior doctor, he was diagnosed with a slight hemorrhoid and was sent home. However, after four days, Ben applied to the hospital again with severe anal pain. Even though the executed tests revealed an infection, it took another three days for the patient to be seen by the senior doctor. After the urgent ultrasonic scanning, a severe disease extending in the inward parts of the body was revealed.
Although an immediate surgery and sixteen additional procedures were performed, Ben continues to suffer from chronic intestinal pains; he was diagnosed with depression caused by the medical trauma. The negligence in the hospital caused these significant consequences, in the first instance, the junior doctor was obliged to undertake all necessary investigations to detect the actual issue. Besides that, the junior doctor should have resorted to a more experienced colleague in case he was not confident in his diagnosis. Furthermore, the health officials did not react immediately, which led to the worsening of symptoms within several days.
The second case demonstrates the negligence in the hospital’s guidelines, the medication error, and the delayed diagnosis. In 2004, during her work in Africa, Ros experienced an infectious disease and applied to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford (Fieldfisher, 2019). She was prescribed intravenous therapy to prevent dehydration. The next day, the fluids were no longer essential, but the cannula, inserted in the vein of the left elbow, was not removed immediately. Within the next two days, Ros was complaining of redness and pain in her arm. Instead of accurate examination, she has prescribed painkillers. Only after four days, during a test, a serious bacterial infection was detected, and the patient began antibiotic therapy.
Despite this treatment, Ros developed pneumonia and lost consciousness due to respiratory distortion and septic stress. She experienced a series of strokes, which led to brain damage, the toes on one of her legs were amputated due to the infection, and the heart, lungs, and liver malfunctioned. This outcome could be evaded if the hospital nurses removed the catheter the day it became impractical as this procedure is prescribed by the hospital’s regulations. Foremost, all examinations should be executed the same day the patient started to complain; this negligence resulted in the wasting of the essential time for the treatment. The appropriate antibiotic treatment started on time instead of the ineffective pain medication could save the patient’s health as well.
The last case describes the doctor’s negligence during the plastic surgery, which resulted in severe damage to the patient’s well-being. Bernadette attended Dr. Brown for the procedure of the liposuction and agreed on it, assured by the doctor of the simplicity and the effectiveness of this surgery (Fieldfisher, 2019). He used a technique of the infiltration of the patient’s abdomen with the liquid for the further removal of fat, during the procedure, he perforated the intestinal tract of the woman though did not consider his mistake. Only after a few days and Bernadette’s return visit, this severe health problem was detected, although after a laparotomy the woman continued suffering from a hernia and developed pneumonia. In this case, to avoid the negative outcome, the doctor should give the highest priority to the surgery process to avoid mistakes. All necessary analyses and examinations should be provided, disregarding the general condition of the patient. Most significantly, the plastic surgeon should explain all the risks and outcomes to the patient before the procedure without the reassurance of its safety.
Analyzing the cases, one can, therefore, conclude that negligence in health care is frequently connected with the absence of the doctor’s experience, time delay in treatment, and the carelessness of the hospital’s policy. Following the health care guideline and standards plays an essential role in providing the appropriate medical treatment. In case of apparent negligence, all investigations should be executed by the attorneys to provide the patient with the legal compensation.