The American healthcare system has a lot of different players in it. From insurance companies to hospital facilities to dozens of different kinds of healthcare providers, there are plenty of people who can make mistakes that end up hurting you, either physically or financially.
When it comes to medical malpractice in Philadelphia, those mistakes can look very differently, depending on the type of healthcare provider that made it.
The Problem of Medical Malpractice Spans All Types of Providers
The problem of medical malpractice is a serious one in the United States. According to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, approximately 75% of healthcare providers in low-risk specialties and 99% of those in high-risk fields would face a malpractice claim by the time they turned 65 years old.
That study found that certain fields attracted malpractice claims more than others, with surgeons facing malpractice lawsuits more than doctors. Healthcare providers in the following fields faced malpractice claims at alarming rates every year:
- Neurosurgery – 19.1%
- Thoracic-cardiovascular surgery – 18.9%
- General surgery – 15.3%
Meanwhile, providers in other fields faced malpractice lawsuits at much lower rates:
- Family practice – 5.2%
- Pediatrics – 3.1%
- Psychiatry – 2.6%
Another study of over 4,000 doctors ranked doctors in different specialties based on how many had faced at least one medical malpractice claim. The results are in line with the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine:
- Obstetrics and gynecology – 85%
- Surgery – 83%
- Orthopedics – 79%
- Radiology – 72%
- Anesthesiology – 58%
- Internal medicine or family medicine – 46%
- Oncology – 34%
The toll that these mistakes have on patients is extreme. However, it is also disturbingly difficult to quantify because hospitals conveniently fail to classify certain adverse outcomes as malpractice. As a result, medical researchers have provided fatality rates that span a huge spectrum, from 250,000 malpractice fatalities all the way up to 440,000 each year.
Hundreds of thousands more are hurt every year, too.
Medical Providers Who Can Commit Malpractice
The medical field is not just broken down into doctors, surgeons, and nurses. There are dozens of specialty fields, each with hundreds of practitioners in the Philadelphia area, alone. Each one can commit medical malpractice, leading to the following.
- Acupuncturist Malpractice. An acupuncturist pushes needles into specific parts of the body to relieve stress and help the body function better. This branch of medicine is an Ancient Chinese one, and is frowned upon by many in the medical community. However, thousands of people flock to it for relief.
- Allergist Malpractice. Allergists, also known as immunologists, studies the immune system and treats allergic problems and reactions.
- Anesthesiologist Malpractice. Anesthesiologists are doctors who administer pain treatment, including during surgical procedures. They are among the most likely types of medical providers to get sued for medical malpractice.
- Andrologist Malpractice. These doctors focus on the male reproductive system, including their hormones.
- Cardiologist Malpractice. Cardiologists study and care for the heart, but do not directly participate in surgical procedures.
- Cardiovascular Surgeon Malpractice. Cardiovascular surgeons do heart surgeries.
- Chiropractor Malpractice. Chiropractors focus their care on the neuromuscular system and how back and spinal problems impact muscle movement, tension, and pain.
- Colorectal Surgeon Malpractice. Also called a proctologist, these surgeons do procedures on the anal canal, intestines, and colon.
- Dental Anesthesiologist Malpractice. These anesthesiologists provide pain relief and care for people undergoing serious dental procedures and oral surgeries.
- Dentist Malpractice. Dentists diagnose and try to prevent oral and tooth problems.
- Dermatologist Malpractice. These medical providers focus on problems related to a patient's skin.
- Doula Malpractice. Doulas are informally trained medical providers who can be used to help pregnant women through the delivery process. They are often confused with midwives.
- Emergency Room Physician Malpractice. These are the trauma doctors who treat people who come to a hospital's emergency room. They often deal with life-threatening conditions that need immediate medical care.
- Endocrinologist Malpractice. These doctors specialize in treating problems in the glandular system, including the pancreas, testes, ovaries, pituitary and adrenal gland, and the thyroid.
- Fertility Specialist Malpractice. These medical providers help men and women conceive children.
- Gastroenterologist Malpractice. Also known as GI doctors, gastroenterologists treat problems in the digestive tract.
- General Practitioner and Family Practitioner Malpractice. General and family practitioners are usually the first doctor you go to see if you have a problem. You often have to pass through them before getting referred to a specialist. These doctors are most often sued for malpractice if they miss a diagnosis.
- General Psychiatrist Malpractice. Psychiatrists, also known as psychologists, help people overcome emotional difficulties or disorders.
- General Surgeon Malpractice. These surgeons do surgical procedures but do not focus their practice on a particular body part or organ, like the heart or brain.
- Geriatrician Malpractice. These doctors focus their care on the elderly.
- Geriatric Psychiatrist Malpractice. Medical providers in this field specialize their psychiatric care on the elderly and the mental problems that often arise late in life, like Alzheimer's Disease.
- Hepatologist Malpractice. These doctors are concerned with the health of the liver. They also pay attention to other organs that can affect the liver, like the pancreas and the gallbladder.
- Hospitalist Malpractice. Hospitalists are doctors who oversee patients who have already been admitted to the hospital.
- Internal Medicine Doctor Malpractice. Also known as internists, these doctors treat infections and other internal medical problems.
- Intensive Care Specialist Malpractice. These doctors frequent intensive care units (ICUs) where patients are suffering from life-threatening conditions or who have suffered from critical injuries.
- Medical Oncologist Malpractice. Unlike other oncologists, medical oncologists aim to treat cancer without a surgical procedure.
- Midwife Malpractice. Midwives help women deliver children.
- Neonatologist Malpractice. Neonatologists are a specialized branch of pediatrics. They care for newborns who were premature or who had other medical problems as soon as they were born.
- Nephrologist Malpractice. Nephrologists focus their attention on the kidneys.
- Neurologist Malpractice. Neurologists diagnose nervous system problems, including issues in the spine and brain.
- Neurosurgeon Malpractice. These surgeons conduct brain surgeries. They also perform surgical procedures related to the broader nervous system.
- Obstetrics and Gynecological (OB/GYN) Malpractice. These medical providers care for women through the reproductive cycle and help them safely give birth to healthy children.
- Oncologist Malpractice. Oncologists care and treat cancer, including through surgical means.
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Malpractice. These surgeons perform surgeries on the mouth, jaw, and teeth, from broken jaws to root canals to tooth extractions.
- Orthodontist Malpractice. Orthodontists are medical providers who help set crooked teeth straight and fix dental and jaw problems by moving the teeth into their proper position.
- Orthopedic Surgeon Malpractice. These surgeons treat musculoskeletal problems. They are the ones who set and splint broken bones.
- Otolaryngologists Malpractice. Also known as ENT doctors, they diagnose and treat problems with the ears, nose, and throat.
- Palliative Care Specialist Malpractice. These doctors help people who suffer from terminal diseases. They often focus on easing a patient's pain and anguish.
- Pathologist Malpractice. These doctors use tissues and other body fluids to detect and diagnose diseases and other illnesses.
- Pediatrician Malpractice. Pediatricians are doctors who care for young people. When they commit malpractice, it is especially costly because their mistake will alter the rest of the victim's life.
- Pediatric Cardiologist Malpractice. As their name implies, pediatric cardiologists care for young people with heart problems.
- Pharmacist Malpractice. Pharmacists dispense the drugs that patients need to treat the medical conditions they are suffering from.
- Physical Therapist Malpractice. Physical therapists help people overcome injuries by giving them strength-building exercises once they have received the immediate care they need.
- Plastic Surgeon Malpractice. Plastic surgeons perform surgeries on superficial scars or disfigurements, as well as reconstructive surgeries.
- Podiatrist Malpractice. These medical providers work on ambulatory problems, focusing their care on a patient's lower back, legs, ankles, and feet.
- Pulmonologist Malpractice. These doctors care for respiratory diseases, including asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
- Radiologist Malpractice. Radiologists specialize in getting data and other images that other doctors rely on to diagnose and treat patients.
- Rheumatologist Malpractice. Rheumatologists specialize in internal medicine dealing with a patient's tissues, joints, muscles, and bones.
- Urologist Malpractice. These doctors treat problems in the urinary tract. They also handle issues with the male reproductive system.
Other People Who Can Commit Medical Malpractice
In addition to these medical professionals, there are also others who can commit medical malpractice:
- Nurses can commit malpractice even though they are not always considered medical professionals. If the care they provide falls well below the standard of care one would expect, they can commit malpractice.
- Hospitals can be sued for medical malpractice and be held vicariously liable for the conduct of its employees.
- Pharmaceutical companies can be held liable for medical malpractice if their drug fails or was designed poorly.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian Serve Philadelphia
If you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Philadelphia, you should consider talking to a lawyer. Doctors and other healthcare providers need to be held accountable for the mistakes they make, and there is no reason why you should be the one to bear the brunt of the pain and financial stress of their poor decision or conduct.