Medical malpractice law helps patients get compensation for injuries they suffer after receiving subpar treatment.
We always put our trust in medical professionals when we seek medical attention. We trust that they’ll provide us with the best attention, care, and advice for our situation.
However, when they betray that trust, serious harm can happen and leave us seeking not only relief but also answers.
Here, we’ll look at what medical practice is, the difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence, and common medical malpractice examples.
Medical Malpractice Meaning
Medical malpractice is the failure of a doctor or other medical professional to apply an acceptable level of learning or skill in giving treatment, which causes injury, damage, or loss to the patient.
Or it’s a dereliction of duty by a medical professional through gross negligence, appalling ignorance, or criminal intent.
Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, other medical professional or hospital, through an omission or negligent act, causes harm to a patient. The negligence may due to errors in treatment, diagnosis, health or aftercare management.
Do You Have a Reasonable Medical Malpractice Case?
Medical malpractice cases are quite common in the US. However, simply having a negative experience after receiving medical care doesn’t mean your healthcare provider committed medical malpractice.
To have a realistic medical malpractice claim, you and your lawyer must prove these things:
- The standard of medical attention was violated
- The medical negligence caused the injury
- The injury led to significant financial loss
If your medical malpractice claim meets the above criteria, you might have a case. Also, it’s important to understand the most common examples of medical malpractice. This will help you determine if you’ve got a claim.
Medical Malpractice vs. Medical Negligence
First of all, not every negative outcome after medical care is medical malpractice.
Physicians and other medical professionals can only do so much in all situations. Sometimes they won’t be able to prevent a negative outcome or save a life. However, they owe their patients a duty of care.
In other words, they should know what a normal person with the same knowledge and in the same situation would have done. Proving this may be hard, which is why it’s essential to use a reliable and experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical facility or medical professional violates their duty of care for a patient. It has shades of intent in it while medical negligence doesn’t.
Here’s a classic example of medical malpractice: The medical professional knew they should have treated the patient but didn’t do so knowing full well that their action may cause that patient harm.
While the medical professional didn’t intend to harm the patient, what they did was intentional because they knew that their actions would put the patient at risk of harm.
For instance, a doctor opts to not do a costly diagnostic exam because the patient’s insurance provider won’t pay for the cost of carrying out the test. As a result, the doctor will bear the cost of failing to run the test.
In contrast, medical negligence doesn’t involve intent. It occurs when a medical professional commits an error while treating a patient and that error causes injury to the patient.
Although the omission or act is definitely medical negligence, it’s not the same as medical malpractice. This is because the medical professional didn’t commit the error to cause harm to the patient or knew that the patient could suffer harm.
What about a medical negligence example? There are many good medical negligence examples, one of which is when a nurse unintentionally leaves a pair of scissors inside a wound.
She didn’t deliberately injure the person, so her action might not result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Only a reputable and experienced medical malpractice lawyer is qualified to assess your case. They will use your facts to determine whether your claim is for medical malpractice or medical negligence.
Common Medical Malpractice Examples
Medical malpractice cases aren’t as many as other cases each year. However, some medical errors are quite common in many medical malpractice claims, including:
Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis
A huge chunk of medical negligence claims involve delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose a serious illness early or misdiagnosing a patient can have disastrous consequences for them.
Failure to properly diagnose a patient can make them miss out on useful treatment early on. Therefore, their illness may progress and become much worse.
If you believe you’ve had a delayed diagnosis or you’ve not been properly diagnosed, you can take certain steps.
Most medical negligence attorneys will recommend visiting different medical providers within the same specialty. This is so you can compare their treatment to that of your original doctor.
The secret to proving medical malpractice is to show that another medical provider, in the same situation and with the same skill, wouldn’t have misdiagnosed you.
Anesthesia errors are quite rare but may be deadlier than surgery errors. Even a minor mistake by an anesthesiologist can cause brain damage, permanent injury, or even death.
Examples of anesthesia mistakes that might cause malpractice include:
- Failure to investigate the medical history of a patient for potential complications.
- Failure to let a patient know about pre-operative procedures (such as avoiding food for a given period before surgery)
- Giving a patient too much anesthesia
- Failure to monitor the vital signs of a patient
- Incorrectly placing a tube inside the trachea to help a patient breathe (intubation)
- Using defective anesthesia equipment
A surprisingly huge number of people suffer injuries due to medication mistakes. These mistakes may be due to the doctor’s method of administration or the initial drug prescription.
Medication errors that might result in a medical malpractice suit include:
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Prescribing the wrong dosage of medication
- Administering the wrong dosage of medication, or through the wrong route
When medication mistakes occur, there’s the risk of the person’s medical condition not improving. In addition, injury, additional symptoms, or even death may occur.
Surgeons and nurses working under them may make surgery mistakes that lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Sometimes surgeons leave surgical tools inside a patient’s body, puncture internal organs, or perform an operation on the wrong part of the body.
On the other hand, a nurse could be negligent in providing post-surgery care. This may cause complications like a serious injury or even death.
Prenatal and Childbirth Injuries
Medical negligence cases usually involve childbirth or prenatal care. Mistakes made in these stages may harm a baby in various ways.
Fetal injuries can include bone fractures, brain injuries, and nerve damage in the limbs. Negligent prenatal care may cause harm to the fetus and the mother.
Common errors committed by doctors before childbirth include:
- Failure to detect birth effects
- Failure to detect medical problems in the mother that may affect the pregnancy
- Failure to detect an ectopic pregnancy
Childbirth negligence is another case common case of medical malpractice. A doctor’s errors during childbirth may cause harm or death of the mother or baby or both. These errors can involve:
- Missing birth complication signs
- Failure to properly respond to fetal distress
- Failure to sanction a Caesarean section when necessary
- Failure to use vacuum devices or forceps in a competent way
If you’ve got any concerns about you or your loved one’s treatment during pregnancy, consult respected negligence attorneys in your area.
IV and Catheter Problems
Catheters and IVs are regularly used to administer medicines, nutrition, and fluids to patients. Injuries may occur if the catheter or IV is not properly placed or monitored. Patients may suffer injuries due to fluid extravasation (leakage of fluids into tissues).
Improper catheter placement may damage internal organs. For instance, failure to place catheters properly may injure the urethra, which can cause permanent injury and infection.
Falls in Medical Facilities
The laws in place stipulate that hospitals and nursing care homes must take proactive steps to protect patients from falls.
They’re required to assess a patient’s risk of slipping and falling and take affirmative steps to reduce the risk. Falls are a common source of nursing home or hospital malpractices.
Post Surgical Infections
Infections after surgery are a very scary and very real problem that all doctors and medical facilities try to avoid.
The bad news for patients is that it’s very hard to prove the origin of an infection. This means that even when patients are admitted to hospitals, negligence isn’t automatic.
Have you or your family member experienced any of these medical malpractice examples? If so, find a good law firm to represent your claim against the healthcare facility, doctor, or nurse responsible for the injuries.
While it may be difficult to argue and prove a case of medical malpractice, the experienced lawyers at the Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo can help you.
Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.