Medical malpractice is defined as injury to a patient as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence or omission. It could be anything from a misdiagnosis to mistakes made during treatment or health management.
In order to qualify as malpractice, there are three requirements that need to be met:
Violating the Standard of Care
Each medical profession adheres to certain standards of care, which determine things like which treatments are acceptable to administer. They are based on the kinds of treatments other competent health professionals would administer in similar situations. They determine the level of care patients can expect to receive, and if those standards are not met, the patient may have a case for negligence against their healthcare professional, but only if the next two qualifications have been met.
Injury Caused by Negligence
People seek out healthcare professionals to help them feel better, not worse. If a patient suffered an injury while in the care of a healthcare professional, they will need to prove the injury was a result of negligence. If they are simply unhappy with the level of care they received, that won’t necessarily be enough to sue for malpractice if they suffered no harm as a result of the care and/or the care they received met the standard of care.
Significant Damages as A Result of The Injury
Medical malpractice lawsuits are extremely costly to litigate. They generally require testimony from multiple expert witnesses, leading to countless hours of deposition and testimony, on top of attorneys’ fees and legal costs. If a patient wants to sue for medical malpractice, they need to first make sure their claims are large enough to justify the costs of bringing a medical malpractice suit to trial.
Common Examples of Malpractice
Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
Before our doctors can treat us, they first need to determine the cause of our suffering that brought us to them in the first place. There are a number of reasons a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can happen: if the patient did not provide a full list of symptoms; if some, but not all, of the symptoms become apparent; or if the diagnosis is something unusual the doctor would never have encountered before.
After all, doctors are only human and mistakes happen. But if the patient can prove the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis was the result of negligence, and the failure to provide immediate care resulted in significant damages, they may have a malpractice case.
Errors in Prescribing or Administering Medication
Many Americans these days expect to just take a pill to make them feel better. While drugs can do marvelous things these days, they must be treated with the utmost caution. Anything from prescribing the wrong drug (especially in cases of misdiagnosis) to giving the right drug to the wrong patient can have serious consequences. But the most common types of medical malpractice involve dosage, whether it’s a doctor prescribing the right drug but the wrong dose, or prescribing the right dose but a nurse administered the wrong dose to a patient. If it can be proven that the mistake was a result of negligence, there could be a valid case for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.