The Arizona Medical Board categorizes the complaints they receive into four different groups. The moral and ethical category includes sexual misconduct with a patient, fraudulent billing, violating prescribing statutes and the like. Legal errors include complaints that violate the law but do not necessarily endanger patients. Most doctor errors known to the board fall under standard of care, and substance abuse, psychiatric impairment and behavioral disorders fall into the fourth category.
The board receives more complaints that fall into the standard of care category than anything else. Such doctor errors include technical errors during surgery or birth injuries. Errors are often the result of doctor negligence such as a failure to treat infections. Such mistakes could have a long-term impact or lead to permanent disability. In some extreme cases, surgeons have been known to remove the wrong limb during an operation.
Medical malpractice may also occur during birth, injuring either the baby or the mother or both. Additionally, surgeons may operate on the wrong site or leave a medical instrument inside the body. Medical misdiagnoses can lead to patients receiving the wrong treatment and worsened conditions. Common examples include misdiagnosing heart problems as heartburn, nervousness or another less severe condition. Parkinson's disease has also been mistaken as traumatic head injury.
Victims of medical malpractice due to doctor errors may choose to hire attorneys to represent them and build a case in court. An attorney can build a case using evidence from board investigations and other sources. In many cases, a favorable settlement can be reached outside of the courts.
Source: azmd.gov, "Explanation Of Board Actions And Overview Of Complaint Categories", October 01, 2014