Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional causes injury or death to a patient through negligence. The carelessness could be caused by a doctor, nurse, therapist, hospital staff, or medical testing (i.e. radiology department), to name a few examples. In some cases, an injury could be permanent. This could result in the patient needing ongoing medical care or have a severe impact on their ability to work.
What constitutes negligence?
To be considered medical malpractice, the healthcare professional or institution must have caused the injury by a negligent act or omission which resulted in injury (or death) to the patient. To qualify, a plaintiff must be able to claim several factors:
- Violation of standard of care
- Carelessness or inattention while under care resulted in injury
- Significant damages were caused to the individual through the injury
Acts falling under the umbrella of negligence include mistakes relating to diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, and health management.
Common types of medical malpractice
There are many types of medical malpractice that can happen to a patient while under a professional’s care. Some common examples include:
- Misreading, misinterpreting or ignoring laboratory test results, such a blood, urine, fluid (i.e. brain or spine), biopsies, radiology (x-rays, mammograms, MRIs, CAT scans), or endoscopy.
- Ordering unnecessary or improper tests
- Failure to diagnose an injury or illness (or failure to recognize symptoms)
- Misdiagnosing an illness
- Mistakes made in surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrong procedure or surgery performed on a patient
- Discharging a patient from treatment too soon
- Wrong medication or patient receiving incorrect dosage
- Poor aftercare or no follow-up
- Ignoring patient medical history
- Pregnancy/childbirth-related injuries
- If a healthcare professional fails in their duty of care and the result is injury or death, a lawsuit can be brought against them for malpractice.
When to call an attorney
If you, or a loved one, is a victim of medical malpractice, you’ll want to call an attorney ASAP because you could be entitled to compensation as allowed by law. Many attorneys offer free consultations. Your medical malpractice attorney will examine the circumstances surrounding the injury and help determine if you have grounds for a case. If so, your attorney will work to help you gather the documentation you’ll need.