Medical malpractice comes in many different shapes and forms.

Dr. Matthew H. H. Young, MD, JD, CMQ, Esq.

Dr. Matthew H. H. Young, MD, JD, CMQ, Esq.

Founder & Executive Director,
Patient Advocacy Organization and Resource (PAOR)

Here’s the world’s most comprehensive publicly available list of all the ways medical malpractice can manifest.

For patients and families who have suffered a bad outcome, many ask, “Do I have a medical malpractice case?” or “Was I a victim of medical malpractice?”

Assume you do until you are told otherwise. And even if you are told otherwise, see Commandment Number 9: Thou shalt not stop seeking legal counsel until all options have been exhausted. Most law firms and lawyers simply don’t understand the nuances of medicine and frequently tell clients they don’t have a case when in fact they do. Think about it this way: it is better to have tried to investigate a case that turned out to be without merit than to never have pursued a case that did in fact have merit.

If you don’t see your specific injury or potential claim listed below, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a case — it might just be labeled differently.

By Specialty:

  • Obstetrics – Birth Injury: maternal, fetal, or neonatal injury
    1. Antepartum Negligence – prenatal injuries caused by a negligent act or omission prior to labor, e.g., failure to timely induce and deliver a patient with preeclampsia; failure to prevent a preterm delivery with a cerclage; failure to perform a schedule C-section for fetal macrosomia resulting in shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury, Erb’s palsy, or other birth trauma and/or birth asphyxia
    2. Intrapartum (Labor & Delivery) Injury – injury occurring during, at, or around the time of birth, e.g., failure to timely perform a C-section with evidence of fetal distress, non-reassuring fetal heart tracings, and chorioamnionitis (intrauterine infection); failure to perform; failure to prevent a cord prolapse; failure to administer neuroprophylaxis or neuroprotection with magnesium sulfate in premature/preterm fetuses at  less than 32 weeks estimated gestational age
    3. Postpartum injury – injury to mother occurring after birth, e.g., failure to monitor and treat blood pressures appropriately in a patient with delayed onset postpartum preeclampsia resulting in organ damage; failure to timely and properly diagnose and treat a postpartum hemorrhage; maternal death postpartum
  • Gynecology: failure to timely diagnose and treat cancers, e.g., failure to follow cervical cancer screening guidelines resulting in delay in diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer
  • Neonatal injury – injury after birth in the NICU, e.g., delay in intubation or resuscitation; failure to perform therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Infant injury – injury after 30 days of life, e.g., failure to diagnose an infection, sepsis, or meningitis
  • Brain injury – neurological injury, e.g., failure to diagnose and treat intracranial bleeding or infection
  • Delay in diagnosis of cancer
    1. Breast cancer
    2. Cervical cancer
    3. Colon cancer
    4. Lung cancer
    5. Brain cancer
    6. Skin cancer
    7. GI cancer
    8. Genitourinary cancer, e.g., prostate cancer
    9. Hematologic cancers
    10. Kidney cancer
  • Wrongful death – failure to prevent death
  • Stroke – delay in the diagnosis and treatment of a stroke aka cerebrovascular accident; failure to timely administer tPA
  • Cardiovascular – e.g., failure to timely and properly diagnose and treat myocardial infarction (heart attack), aortic dissection, or pulmonary embolism, or other vascular catastrophe
  • Spinal cord injuries – e.g., failure to diagnose and treat spinal epidural abscess
  • Infection – failure to treat with antibiotics and/or to achieve adequate source control, e.g., washing out an abscess by performing a debridement/incision & drainage
  • Emergency Room litigation – failure to admit patient or do necessary workup allowing patient to be discharged with undiagnosed life-threatening condition
  • Neurosurgery litigation – e.g., preventable injuries in the OR to the brain or spine
  • Cardiothoracic litigation – e.g., improper repair or replacement of a heart valve; failure to perform the necessary intraoperative steps to fix a heart problem
  • Preventive care, family medicine, primary care, general practitioner – failure to administer routine preventive care
  • Critical care/ICU litigation – failure to provide necessary critical care or other cardiorespiratory interventions
  • Psychiatry – failure to prevent suicide
  • Surgery – wrong site surgery, retained surgical foreign body
  • Anesthesia – failure to monitor hemodynamics resulting in hypoperfusion brain injury
  • Infectious Disease – failure to initiate antibiotic therapy in a timely manner and/or failure to achieve adequate source control
  • Gastroenterology – failure to do proper colonoscopy resulting in missed lesion
  • Pathology – incorrect or missed pathologic diagnosis on histopathology
  • Radiology – missed finding or diagnosis on x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc., causing delay in diagnosis and resulting in, e.g., upstaged cancer
Medical malpractice comes in many different shapes and forms. was last modified: December 31st, 2020 by Patricia Burns Fiore

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PAOR is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to educating and serving Pennsylvania patients and families who are concerned that they may have been harmed by medical malpractice.