What are the risks of medical errors in the NICU?

Much faith is placed on medical professionals. Whether a patient is seeing their primary caregiver for a routine check-up or they are seeking medical attention for an illness or injury, patients rely on their knowledge and expertise. In addition to trusting the diagnosis and treatment plan of their doctor, patients also rely on the technology and diagnostic tests used to treat them. However, both medical professionals and their diagnostic tests could make mistakes.

What are the risks of medical errors in the NICU? It is challenging to hear that medical errors can harm even the youngest patients, but medical malpractice does not discriminate. According to current data, multiple-birth infants have a higher risk of medical errors than other babies in the NICU.

The higher rate of these errors among multiple-births was due to the misidentification of a patient among twins, triplets and quadruplets. Each year, there are more than 135,000 multiple births in the U.S., and many are born early and require over a month of treatment in a NICU. Thus, this exposes them to a higher risk of wrong orders for medications, tests and procedures. Such errors could have grave or even fatal results for the infant.

Medical errors have the ability to suddenly and tragically change one’s life, whether they are young or old. When a negligent medical professional is to blame, it may be possible to hold them accountable for the harm caused. Through a medical malpractice action, an injured patient could recover a monetary award for losses suffered.