A Look into Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice exists when a physician fails to exercise sufficient care and skill that a specialist with the same expertise would give under the same circumstances. It can occur when a hospital or healthcare professional causes suffering to a patient through action or omission.
For an action or inaction to qualify as medical malpractice under the law, the following four legal aspects must be proven:
- The professional duty of care owed to the patient
- Breach of the duty
- Injury or suffering arising from the breach
- The damages thereof (monetary or non-monetary)
The law offers recourse for victims of medical malpractice, and they may file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the entities and individuals involved. Like every other civil case, the burden of proof lies on the plaintiff, in this case, the patient, for a successful outcome, must prove the four aspects discussed above.
Since it may be difficult to demonstrate to a jury that the healthcare provider failed to act reasonably, the case can turn out to be a time-consuming and expensive affair. Before deciding on any course of action, consult a medical malpractice lawyer for advice on whether your case has merit, or not.
Common Types of Injuries in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Common injuries that give rise to medical malpractice lawsuits are briefly discussed below. These are just the tip of the iceberg with regards to injuries arising out of medical mistakes, but they make up a majority of most cases.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
A wrong diagnosis is a recurrent medical error that accounts for a majority of medical malpractice claims. Not only do patients miss crucial treatment stages with a wrong diagnosis, but it also might lead them to take the wrong drugs, further aggravating their situation.
A delayed diagnosis also denies the patient timely access to early medical intervention, a common claim in such suits. If a reasonably competent doctor would not have made the misdiagnosis or delayed it, then the treating doctor may be held liable.
Such medical errors arise from the operating room. This can include things like puncturing internal organs, operating on the wrong site or leaving surgical tools in the body after the surgery. In addition, the lack of proper care after the surgery by the hospital staff may give rise to a medical malpractice suit.
Mistakes relating to childbirth are on the rise, and injuries to either the expectant mom or her baby is common ground for medical malpractice lawsuits. Fetal injuries may include brain injuries, fractures from falls, and nerve damage occasioned by poor handling.
Childbirth injuries can occur before, during, and after childbirth. Prenatal negligence may include failure to diagnose the expectant woman with conditions that could affect her child or contagious diseases that may be transmitted to the newborn.
When a doctor erroneously prescribes their patient with the wrong medication, dosage, and mode of administration, the patient may hold them liable for malpractice. This can also occur following a misdiagnosis, where the right drugs are used to treat the wrong illness.
Failure to Provide Treatment
This commonly occurs when a doctor provides the right diagnosis of a condition, but then fails to accord the patient acceptable standards of care. Injuries may arise out of situations such as premature discharging of a patient or lack of post-treatment care.
The occurrence of any of these injuries does not warrant a successful outcome in a medical malpractice suit. While it’s easy to allege medical negligence, proving it is the most difficult part, and a medical malpractice lawyer is best suited to guide you on what legal options are available for you.