Knowing what constitutes medical malpractice is the first step to recovering losses after receiving substandard treatment from a medical professional. Medical professionals have a duty to provide a standard of care. If your treatment does not rise to the appropriate standard of care that other medical professionals would provide in the same circumstances, then it is medical negligence.
Negligence isn’t the only action that constitutes malpractice. Occasionally, medical malpractice occurs due to recklessness in a medical professional’s actions. This can also be a direct result of inaction. Although reckless medical malpractice is rarer than medical negligence, it does still occur.
Medical malpractice can be due to a mistake, such as when you receive the wrong medication for your illness. Additionally, it can be the result of the improper judgment of a medical professional while you are in their care.
However, not every negative health outcome indicates medical malpractice. For example, when a physician takes the appropriate medical actions for the circumstances, sometimes the patient’s condition still gets worse. Alternatively, a patient may receive treatment for an illness that becomes terminal.
Are doctors the only individuals liable?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are often more complicated than personal injury lawsuits. With a personal injury lawsuit, it is typically easy to determine whose actions caused an injury.
Yet with medical malpractice lawsuits, it might not be clear who is responsible for negligible treatment that results in an injury. In fact, several people and even different entities can be found to have committed medical malpractice.
Aside from doctors, the following people and entities that can be liable for medical malpractice include:
- Nurses, other hospital staff, and hospitals
- Surgeons and their assistants
- Dentists and anesthesiologists
Essentially, anyone that is a medical practitioner, and sometimes even their employers, might be liable for medical malpractice. Thus, doctors are not the only parties responsible in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What are some examples of medical malpractice?
Unfortunately, medical malpractice events happen frequently. It can be as simple as a doctor misdiagnosing a patient, resulting in the patient receiving a treatment that causes an injury. It can be as complex as not identifying a case of umbilical cord prolapse during childbirth. Without the doctor treating this event quickly, the baby can lose oxygen and suffer from brain damage.
Some common examples of medical malpractice events include:
- Misdiagnosis that goes unnoticed and worsens the health outcome of a patient.
- Failure to diagnose an illness in a timely manner. If a patient’s outcome would have been significantly different had they been accurately diagnosed, then the patient has experienced medical malpractice.
- Injuries to a child during prenatal care or birthing stages.
- Errors during surgery.
- Mistakes that occur while giving medications or anesthesia.
- Infections that form in a hospital that the patient would not have developed without contact with professionals there.
I waived my consent before the procedure, can I still file for damages?
Understanding the complications that can take place in a procedure helps patients decide whether a treatment is worth the risk. However, understanding the risks should never be a reason for a medical professional to be neglectful during your operation. It is a misconception that you waive all your rights when a physician explains the potential risks of any procedure.
I was never informed of the risk. Does this constitute medical malpractice?
If you suspect that you or a loved one has experienced medical malpractice, it is best to consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Unfortunately, questions about disclosure of surgical risk are not always clear. Doctors only need to tell you about the significant risks of a procedure under certain circumstances.
However, if a competent medical professional would have disclosed a risk of the illness you suffered after a procedure, then this may rise to medical malpractice.
Speak To an Experience Medical Malpractice Attorney
It can be difficult to determine what constitutes medical malpractice. Medical malpractice lawsuits require knowledge of both medical procedures and medical malpractice law. For this reason, you should always work with an attorney if you believe that you or a loved one experienced medical malpractice.
Contact the law office of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990 to discuss your case with experienced medical malpractice attorneys.
No matter where you are, one of our offices can help.