Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, encompasses a wide variety of conduct that can affect people of all ages and all backgrounds. One medical error can lead to catastrophic or permanent injuries, and in the worst cases, the outcome may be death. While there are numerous ways in which an act of medical malpractice can cause a person to suffer injuries, some of the most common forms of medical malpractice include, among others, the failure to diagnose a serious medical condition, prescription errors, surgical errors, and negligence that results in birth injuries.
Except in rare circumstances, healthcare providers do not intend to cause harm, but intent is irrelevant when evaluating a potential medical malpractice case. Medical professionals must adhere to a heightened standard of care when treating patients. They have a duty to all patients to avoid acts of preventable medical negligence. When negligent medical professionals breach their duty of care to patients, they may be held responsible if such negligence caused or contributed to cause a patient’s injuries. Medical malpractice cases are especially traumatic when babies and children are the injured victims, as their injuries will be defining factors of their lives.
The Broad Category of Medical Malpractice Law
Medical malpractice is a very specialized area of personal injury law that covers a substantial number of sub-practice areas. Lawyers with extensive experience handling medical malpractice cases understand the complexity and variety of such cases. Injured individuals seeking compensation for medical malpractice-related injuries should take all measures to ensure they are working with a highly skilled medical malpractice lawyer. Choosing the wrong lawyer can be disastrous if that lawyer does not possess the requisite skill and experience to help a client fight to obtain compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice is an area of law includes a long list of sub-practice areas, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Failure to Diagnose a Medical Condition;
- Misdiagnosis of a Medical Condition;
- Pharmacy Dispensing Errors (such as dispensing the wrong medication and/or the wrong dose of a medication);
- Emergency Room Negligence;
- Surgical Errors;
- Failure to Treat Infection (especially in the hospital or nursing home setting);
- Physician Disclosure Errors (such as failing to warn of all known risks associated with a procedure);
- Nursing Home Negligence;
- Delivery Room Errors;
- Hospital Equipment Failure;
- Administrative and System Errors; and
- Failure to Properly Treat a Medical Condition;
In each alleged act of medical malpractice, a medical provider (such as a physician, nurse, or pharmacist, among others) falls below the standard of care by breaching his or her duty to a patient. For example, a doctor who fails to diagnose a medical condition, such as cancer, has committed a negligent act that other similarly situated physicians would not commit. When the act of negligence – failure to diagnose cancer – causes a patient to suffer injuries, such as delayed diagnosis of cancer, which results in extensive treatment or death that could have been prevented, that patient has a right to seek compensation from the negligent physician.
Medical malpractice happens in multiple settings, including physician offices or clinics, hospitals, urgent care facilities, specialty care centers (such as outpatient surgical centers), nursing homes and long-term care facilities, pharmacies, and chiropractic offices, among others. In some cases, more than one party may be considered negligent in causing a patient’s injuries.
For example, a person who sustains injuries during a procedure in a hospital may choose to file a lawsuit against not only the surgeon, but also the hospital, as well as any other individual involved in the procedure who may be at fault for causing or contributing to cause one’s injuries. Cases involving multiple defendants (especially defendants who work together) can be tricky, and strategies for determining what parties are at fault should be evaluated by a superior medical malpractice lawyer.
If you or a loved one sustained an injury cause by medical malpractice, you could be qualified to file a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for damages.
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