What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is also known as medical negligence and takes place when a doctor, other health care professional, hospital, or health care facility does not treat a patient in a way that complies with the accepted standards of the medical profession.
This is applicable when a patient becomes injured or ill while under medical care or when a patient’s condition or illness worsens due to the alleged inappropriate care or negligence.
To file a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the malpractice case must be defined. This means that the “medical standard of care” was not followed and the provider’s breach of that standard (medical negligence) did occur.
The plaintiff’s medical expert generally provides the evidence through testimony that involves discussing the plaintiff’s condition, the appropriate treatment course and diagnosis methodology, and what the doctor did or did not do during each phase of patient care.
The medical malpractice attorneys at Parker Waichman will work to show that the provision of care was not appropriate, which means that decisions, treatment, and diagnosis by the doctor fell short of the accepted medical standard of care.
This may involve a failure to treat or the physician may have neglected to act as a physician typically would act in that medical specialty, with the behavior considered a breach of the standard of care that comprises medical negligence under the law.
The patient must have been injured, became ill, or his/her condition or injury worsened due to these behaviors. The case must also prove a causal connection existed between the care provider’s medical negligence and the alleged harm the patient experienced and that, as a result, measurable harm or damages to the patient occurred.
The various types of medical malpractice include a failure to diagnose, to inform the patient of the risks of a specific procedure, and to monitor; improper treatment; injury during birth, to mother or child; misdiagnosis; prescription errors; and/or surgical errors.
Parker Waichman LLP is an expert in personal injury law and the provisions for what damages may be claimed, including medical expenses, pain, suffering, and lost income.
How To Determine That Medical Malpractice Occurred
A physician-patient relationship must have existed for medical malpractice to have occurred. The plaintiff’s attorney will seek to prove that the plaintiff was under the care of a physician and that a doctor-patient relationship occurred between the plaintiff and the doctor who is being sued.
Overheard medical advice or advice given outside of the doctor-patient relationship does not qualify for inclusion in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
The injured party must also prove that the physician was negligent in the way in which the plaintiff was cared for. A patient simply being unhappy with medical treatment or test results does constitute medical malpractice.
To prove this, the doctor must be proven to have been negligent in how the plaintiff was diagnosed and treated or the doctor must be shown to have caused the plaintiff harm that a competent doctor—under the same circumstances—would not have caused.
While a doctor’s care need not be the best care available, the doctor must be reasonably skillful and careful. Typically, the plaintiff must present a medical expert during the course of the lawsuit who will provide testimony regarding the proper medical standard of care for the injury involved and how the physician or medical provider departed from that standard.
The injured party must also show that it was the doctor’s negligence that caused the injury. Medical malpractice lawsuits generally involve patients who are sick or injured prior to when the alleged malpractice took place. This typically leads to a question of if the physician’s treatment or diagnosis caused the patient harm.
The injury must be shown that, more likely than not, was a direct result of the physician’s incompetence, which typically calls for medical expert testimony to confirm that it was the doctor’s negligence that led to the injury.
It must also be proven that the injury led to specific damages, as well as that the patient suffered harm. Regardless of if it is obvious that the doctor performed below the expected standards in his or her field, the patient may not bring a lawsuit for malpractice against the provider when no harm was suffered by the patient.
Research on Medical
The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that more than 225,000 people die each year due to medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is now ranked as the third leading cause of death in the United States.
A Harvard Medical School study revealed that more than five percent of all hospital patients were injured due to medical malpractice and only one in eight patients who suffer harm due to medical malpractice files a lawsuit.
The researchers concluded that medical malpractice is not accessible enough for its victims; however, taking legal action in cases of medical malpractice is important to ensure that no one suffers harm at the hands of a health care provider who does not live up to professional standards.
Special Type of Medical Malpractice Cases
In medical malpractice lawsuits, there is a doctrine known as res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) that is used when a patient’s injuries cannot have occurred without negligence on the part of the doctor or provider.
For instance, if the patient is meant to undergo surgery for appendix removal but his or her gall bladder is removed, or the patient underwent surgery but a surgical implement was left in his or her body, or the patient underwent surgery to remove the right arm and the right leg is amputated.
When this occurs, instead of an expert witness, the plaintiff’s attorneys will seek to show that the accident that caused the plaintiff harm could not have occurred in the absence of negligence, that the equipment or conduct that led to the plaintiff’s harm was under the doctor’s or doctors’ team’s control throughout the entire procedure, and that the plaintiff had no part in his or her injury.
If You Are the Victim of Medical Malpractice
Patients should seek immediate medical attention if medical malpractice or negligence is suspected and should document the claim and consult with knowledgeable personal injury attorneys who are able to discuss matters, including statute of limitations and any other special requirements that may impact the plaintiff.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing personal injury victims and continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. Patients may bring lawsuits over physical pain, mental anguish, additional medical bills, lost work, and lost earning capacity.
Filing a Medical Malpractice
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact the personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman today.
For more information call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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