What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?

Did you know that the overwhelming majority of physicians in the United States will be sued at least once by the time they retire for medical malpractice? It’s a quite shocking number, though it’s comforting to know that many of these cases don’t actually go through.

So what makes medical malpractice lawsuits viable enough for them to go through? Well to answer that question, we must first have a clear understanding of what medical malpractice actually is.

In this article, we will cover what medical malpractice is as well as what to do if you feel you have been subjected to malicious treatment by a healthcare provider.

What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?

The first incident that comes to mind whenever someone hears the term ‘medical malpractice’ is often something pertaining to a doctor mistreating a patient. If this is your assumption, you’re on the right track.

However, medical malpractice actually encompasses much more than just a doctor or other healthcare professional mistreating their patient. The notion of mistreatment often comes with the belief that healthcare worker treated their patient poorly out of malicious intent. In reality, medical malpractice consists of mistreatment and neglect, whether it’s accidental or purposeful.

In essence, medical malpractice happens whenever a healthcare provider (such as a doctor) fails to provide adequate care to a patient, refuses or ignores signs for a diagnosis, doesn’t take appropriate action for a patient’s health, or provides a subpar treatment that leads to the harm or potential death of a patient.

With that being said, simply ignoring a patient’s request is not considered medical malpractice. There is actually a multitude of factors that are required by law for an act of neglect to be considered malpractice.

So if a doctor refuses to give a patient medicine or a diagnosis that they are asking for, or if their treatment results in the patient feeling worse than they did before, does that automatically mean that the patient can file for a medical malpractice lawsuit?

Not necessarily. Actually, this area is kind of fuzzy.

In order for a medical malpractice lawsuit to be considered, a few things must happen.

  • The patient must prove that the provider failed to adhere to a certain standard of care
  • The patient must also prove that some type of harm or injury was caused by the healthcare provider
  • The event must lead to a harmful consequence

A harmful consequence can be anything that changes the way the patient lives and functions. This includes short-term or long-term disability, substantial financial loss, and mental or physical suffering.

If you feel like harm was done to you but you aren’t sure if it’s considered a harmful consequence, we highly recommend you consult with a personal injury attorney.

Common Types of Medical Malpractice

While medical malpractice incidents can include a variety of events, there are some that are much more common than others. These include:

  • Improper treatment
  • Prescription drug errors
  • Failure or refusal to diagnose
  • Injuries or mistakes made during childbirth
  • Surgical errors

On some occasions, failing to warn patients of specific risks can even be considered medical malpractice.

If You Feel Like You Were a Victim of Medical Malpractice:

First, remain steadfast. There is a solution to every problem— escalating the issue by causing a storm will only make it worse.

Gather all the necessary documents you need as listed in this article. Included should be:

  • proof of harm
  • hospital/clinic standards of care,
  • medical face sheet
  • doctor’s information
  • diagnosis

Be sure to include anything else you think you may need.

Find a trustworthy medical malpractice attorney near you and call them for a consultation. Explain the situation with them in exact detail as the case happened. They’ll work with you from there.

This article, while short, included the basic information you needed to know about medical malpractice.  As a patient, it’s important to know these things so you can stay both physically, mentally, and financially stable.

Looking for more legal or medical advice? Head on to our blog for more info!