Examples of Medical Malpractice Cases

Because medical malpractice cases are so difficult to prove, it is important that the case has merit. In some cases, malpractice by the health care professional occurs, but the act does not cause the injury. Although it is very unfortunate that the healthcare professional breached their duty to the patient, it does not make for a strong medical malpractice case. Strong cases exist when claimants can show that the medical error was the cause of permanent injury.

The examples below are general instances where medical malpractice might have occurred. This is certainly not a complete list of all medical mistakes or errors, but is very useful in providing a level as to what constitutes breach of medical care.


A patient underwent surgery with a certain anesthetic, even though they had previously had a problem with that anesthetic. The patient suffered greatly or died from the effects of the anesthetic.

An anesthesiologist runs out of oxygen in the middle of an operation and the patient has a cardiac arrest.


An angiography (a test of the arteries) is performed incorrectly and the patient suffers brain damage. 

Bone Fractures

A patient experiences one or multiple fractures. The physician is periodically monitoring them, but the patient is allowed to walk. The X-rays come back and indicate that the patient should not be walking and they suffer permanent damage to the body.

A patient experiences a bone fracture that is then improperly set. The result is permanent damage or disability to their arm, leg, etc.

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Burn Therapy

A patient with severe burns receives inadequate "burn therapy" and continues to suffer horribly, both from a pain and aesthetic perspective.

Delayed Treatment

A physician does not properly detect the existence of a condition, and because of this, the person is not admitted to the hospital. The condition becomes worse but the hospital does not admit them. By the time they receive appropriate treatment it is too late to save them.

Delivery of Children

A woman experiences complications during delivery. She requires a C-section but the attending physician delays this step. The baby develops Cerebral Palsy as a direct result.

A baby with a metabolic disorder suffers some degree of brain damage after they are misdiagnosed and/or monitored during the delivery process.

The healthcare personnel fail to detect that a child was born with a blood problem-Rh incompatibility-antibodies (which destroy the blood in the baby).


A patient has just undergone an operation for a head injury. Despite a physicianís orders that a patient is to receive no food orally, the physicianís assistant nonetheless feeds them by mouth. This error results in serious brain damage.

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Drug Addiction

A patient has an operation that turns out to be unnecessary. Following the operation, the patient becomes addicted to painkillers, drugs, etc.

Drug Reaction

A patient is given the wrong medication, despite the fact that the proper medication is on the chart. The patient suffers a serious drug reaction that causes permanent damage to the patient.

Experimental Therapy

An experimental therapy is undertaken with the purpose of providing relief from a medical malady. The operation or therapy results instead in a serious disability, neurological problem, or permanent damage to the brain.

Heart Surgery

A patient undergoes a heart procedure that ultimately proves to be unnecessary. The surgery results in improper valve function, a blood clot, etc., which causes long-term health problems for the victim.


A hospital patient hemorrhages either from an injury or after a surgical procedure. The hemorrhaging goes undetected and inadequate reaction and treatment by hospital staff results in the patientís death or permanent damage.

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A patient undergoes a routine hysterectomy that goes awry and results in a severance of the ureters. This is not detected and it causes the loss of the patientís kidney.

A womanís hysterectomy results in severe bleeding. The result is additional surgeries and costly and time-consuming complications.

Inadequate Medication

A patient with a severe health condition is prescribed medication that turns out to be grossly inadequate. The condition worsens, yet the doctor does not make the appropriate changes to their medication. The result is long-term damage or death.


A surgical procedure is performed that results in an unnoticed infection. When it is finally discovered, the treatment is delayed and a further surgery is needed. The result is permanent damage or disability to the patient.

Lab Errors

The results of a laboratory test indicate a benign condition when, in fact, the results indicate something much more serious. By the time the mistake is discovered, there has been permanent damage done to an individual.

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The physician failed to properly diagnose a patientís cancer. The patient therefore does not take the necessary steps to cure the cancer and eventually succumbs to the disease.

A patient has appendicitis that is not diagnosed by their physician. The appendix ruptures and kills the patient.

A patient ingests a poisonous substance without knowing it. The physician incorrectly diagnoses the problem and the patient experiences permanent damage or dies.

A physician informs a patient that their condition is much less severe than it turns out to be. By the time the severity of the problem is known there has been permanent injury.

A young child swallows a metal object that goes undetected by the doctor and the child dies.

An eye doctor diagnoses an eye condition without properly examining a patient. The misdiagnosis eventually leads to the patient losing their eyesight.


A patient is given a diagnostic spinal tap, causing him to experience priapism (an extended and painful erection of the penis). The treatment does not occur promptly and afterwards the condition causes a degree of impotency and/or impairs the ability to urinate. 

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Spinal Surgery

A patient undergoes spinal surgery to remove a disc. During the operation, nerve damage occurs that, despite additional surgeries, is unable to be cured. The patient therefore has to live with back pain.

During back surgery, the spinal canal is accidentally punctured and the patient either suffers a serious disability or long-term pain.

A patient undergoes back surgery, but a tear in the covering of the spinal cord is not detected. The patient develops spinal meningitis and dies.

Stomach Surgery

A patient has an operation to remove a section of their stomach. Complications ensue and further surgeries are required that end up causing permanent health issues and/or disability.

A patient undergoes an unnecessary operation. The result is additional operations that lead to a prolonged period of disability.

Transferred without Consent

A patient is transferred from one hospital to another without consent of the attending physician. While the transfer is occurring, they suffer a serious complication or brain damage.

Uncontrolled Diabetes

As a result of the physicianís failure to control the diabetes and/or deficiencies in potassium, the patient dies.

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