What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. The malpractice or negligence normally involves a medical error. This could be in diagnosis, medication dosage, health management, treatment, or aftercare. Medical malpractice law makes it possible for patients to recover compensation from any harms that result from sub-standard treatment. According to the Medical Malpractice Center, in the United States, there are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice suits against doctors every year. The standards and regulations for medical malpractice can differ between countries and states.
A hospital, doctor, or other health care professional is expected to provide a certain standard of care. The professional is not liable for all the harms a patient experiences. However, they are legally responsible if the patient experiences harm or injury because the health provider deviated from the quality of care that is normally expected in similar situations. According to malpractice lawyers in the U.S., for medical malpractice to be considered, a number of factors must be involved. These are:
Failure to provide a proper standard of care: The law requires that health care professionals adhere to certain standards, or potentially face an accusation of negligence.
An injury results from negligence: If a patient feels the provider was negligent, but no harm or injury occurs, there can be no claim. The patient must prove that negligence caused injury or harm, and that, without the negligence, it would not have happened.
The injury must have damaging consequences: The patient must show that the injury or harm caused by the medical negligence resulted in considerable damage.
Considerable damage could be:
- enduring hardship
- constant pain
- considerable loss of income
- misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
- unnecessary or incorrect surgery
- premature discharge
- failure to order appropriate tests or to act on results
- not following up
- prescribing the wrong dosage or the wrong medication
- leaving things inside the patient’s body after surgery
- operating on the wrong part of the body
- the patient has persistent pain after surgery
- potentially fatal infections acquired in the hospital
- pressure ulcers, or bedsores