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Common Medical Errors


Doctors and hospitals can be negligent in many different ways: prescribing or administering the wrong medication, failing to obtain informed consent before treating, administering anesthesia improperly, obtaining an incomplete medical history or mis-entering information in a patient’s medical records… the list goes on and on. However, there are a few medical errors which seem to occur more often than others and with the most serious or deadly results. See below to learn about common and serious medical mistakes in New York City hospitals and doctors’ offices, and contact the Lambrou Law Firm P.C. if you or a loved one has been injured by medical malpractice in New York.


Hospitals call them “never events” because they are never supposed to happen, but they happen every day. Poor procedures in the operating room or during the pre-operative stage, overscheduling medical staff and operating rooms, and overworking surgeons all lead to outcomes from the less-than-desirable to the disastrous. You would think by now that hospitals would learn from their mistakes, but patients continue to suffer from lack of training or reorganizing hospital practices to avoid serious and unnecessary surgical mistakes. Common and serious surgical errors include:

Performing surgery on the wrong body part – The body is symmetrical with identical organs and features on both sides, leading to confusion and mistakes if charts or diagnostic films are misread. When the wrong surgery is performed, the patient still needs the original surgery, which is much riskier to the patient to have to undergo following a recent botched surgery.

Surgery is performed on the wrong patient – Hospitals are busy places, and patients often get moved around from room to room or bed to bed, and charts get mixed up in the process. There are numerous easy fixes to prevent surgery from being performed on the wrong patient, but mistakes are made through lack of training or simple carelessness.

Leaving a foreign object in the body after surgery – Sponges, clamps and surgical instruments need to all be accounted for during and after surgery. Making a simple inventory and count before and after surgery could prevent the infections, blockages, perforations and other serious results that may require another surgery to remove the foreign object, or may lead to wrongful death if not found in time.


Misdiagnosis is the most common form of medical malpractice. One-fourth of all malpractice cases involve a misdiagnosis, which is responsible for 44% of deaths and 33.8% of disabilities due to medical negligence, according to a 25-year study of US hospital practices. A patient simply cannot be properly treated without the right diagnosis, and a wrong or delayed diagnosis can even be fatal. Doctors and hospitals are required to order appropriate tests, perform a differential diagnosis when indicated, and consult with specialists as needed to make an accurate diagnosis. Commonly misdiagnosed conditions include heart attack, stroke, infection, pneumonia and pulmonary embolism. The diagnostic process is not something to rush through, even if the waiting room is full. Better communication and training among hospital staff could prevent a large number of misdiagnoses from occurring, and hospitals can and should be held liable for failing to make these simple yet crucial changes.


Many cancers can be completely cured if they are caught early enough, yet fatal if not caught soon enough. Failing to order tests due to concerns over costs or insurance reimbursement is simply unacceptable, yet it can occur. Other times, the failure to properly perform a diagnostic or misinterpreting test results can lead to the failure to diagnose cancer. The diagnosis of serious and terminal cancers which are commonly missed include lung, breast, colon, cervical, ovarian and testicular cancers, among others.


Doctors and hospitals need to continually monitor maternal and fetal health throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery to ensure a healthy birth free of preventable complications. Failure to adhere to accepted medical practices can yield painful, traumatic and life-long injuries. The costs of raising a child with physical or developmental disabilities are out of reach of most people, but holding hospitals accountable for their errors is a complicated and difficult task. Doctors and hospitals frequently claim that natural circumstances and not medical error are responsible for a birth injury, and it takes the help of a seasoned, dedicated medical malpractice attorney to uncover the facts and go the distance to achieve a fair settlement or jury verdict for a negligent birth injury. In New York, the Lambrou Law Firm pursues birth injury malpractice claims for a wide variety of preventable birth injuries, including:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus Injury (Erb’s Palsy)
  • Shoulder Dystocia
  • Brain Damage

Common mistakes resulting in birth injuries include delay in ordering or performing a c-section, failure to monitor fetal or maternal health, or misuse or excessive use of a vacuum extractor or forceps. Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff can all make mistakes with catastrophic consequences for a baby or new mother.


Surgical error, misdiagnosis, birth injury and other serious forms of medical malpractice can be difficult and challenging claims to pursue. Attorney Lambros Y. Lambrou is experienced in taking on New York medical malpractice claims and recovering significant compensation for his clients. Call 212-285-2100 for a no-cost, confidential consultation on your potential claims. There is no fee unless we recover for you.