What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

When a patient visits a doctor or a hospital for treatment, they expect to be given the best possible care. While in most cases this occurs, there are times when the patient may receive care that does not meet the expected standard of care. If this happens and the patient suffers harm due to this sub-standard treatment, it’s possible medical malpractice has occurred. However, since doctors are not liable for all forms of harm suffered by their patients, it’s important to know exactly what constitutes medical malpractice.

Medical Standard of Care

In any medical malpractice case, the medical standard of care must have been breached by the doctor or healthcare professional. By the medical standard of care, this means the level of care that would reasonably be expected in this particular situation from a physician or healthcare professional with a similar level of training and experience. Common examples of medical malpractice cases involve a surgeon operating on a wrong body part, a nurse dispensing the wrong type of medication, or a doctor failing to diagnose a condition such as cancer or other disease that another doctor would have discovered under similar circumstances.

Expert Testimony

Since medical malpractice suits that appear to be open and shut are not necessarily always won by the plaintiff, it’s critical to have expert testimony on your side in these cases. This begins by the patient consulting with doctors who have expertise in the area relevant to the patient’s health issue, where the doctor examines medical records and other information pertaining to the case. Along with this, they may also speak with other doctors to get their opinions, and in some instances speak with other healthcare professionals who worked on the patient’s case. If the doctor believes malpractice happened, they report their findings to the patient, and in most cases the patient then hires the services of an experienced and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney, such as the law firm of ‘Maggio and Thompson. Further information about our law firm can be found at here.

Lack of Informed Consent

While most people believe all medical malpractice suits involve procedures that result in physical harm to a patient, there are other cases that are quite different. One of the most common involves medical malpractice suits brought due to what is known as a lack of informed consent, meaning the doctor failed to obtain the person’s consent prior to administering treatment. For example, if a doctor recommends surgery to a patient but fails to disclose the procedure carries a high risk of heart failure, they could be held liable for malpractice. This would apply even if another doctor recommended the same surgery, but the difference would be that the other doctor provided full disclosure of the potential risks.

While proving medical malpractice may be difficult in some situations, it’s crucial that anyone who believes this may have happened to them consult experts in the medical and legal fields who can help them make the best decisions.