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Malpractice is the failure of a doctor, nurse or another medical professional to live up to an objective standard of care. There are five common examples of malpractice with which West Virginia residents should be familiar. If they ever become a victim of one of these forms of malpractice, they may be able to file a claim.

The first kind of negligence misdiagnosis, which can lead to patients undergoing harsh and unnecessary treatments while their real conditions worsen. In some cases, a new condition may develop as a result of such diagnostic errors. A second widespread error in the field of medicine occurs during the prescribing, dispensing, preparing and administering of drugs. The cause is very often lack of communication.

Miscommunication is behind surgical errors, the third common type of malpractice. Patients may have the wrong organ or side of the body operated on. Someone may even be mixed up with another patient with a similar name. Fourth, and perhaps the most heartbreaking, are mistakes that can lead to birth injuries. For example, doctors may be too forceful when using forceps or vacuum extractors during a difficult delivery.

Lastly are the anesthesia errors. These mistakes are more likely to be made when anesthesiologists are inexperienced, unfamiliar with the equipment, fatigued or hasty. Some patients may receive too much or too little anesthesia.

Under medical malpractice law, there are several requirements that must be met before the victim of negligence can recover damages. There must have been a preexisting relationship between the doctor and the patient, and the latter should have followed the former's directions. Malpractice claims can end in some of the highest settlements in the personal injury field, so victims may want a lawyer to ensure the strongest possible case. If negotiations are possible, victims may have their attorney speak on their behalf.

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