You may know that if you come to harm as a result of medical malpractice, you have the right to seek damages. However, you may not know what medical malpractice is or whether your case qualifies. The following article attempts to explain more clearly so that you have a better idea of how the law may apply to your case.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is a negligent error or omission on the part of a hospital, doctor, nurse, pharmacist, etc. that causes harm to a patient. There are many forms of medical malpractice, but some of most common include the following:
- Failure to recognize symptoms or misdiagnosis
- Wrong-site surgery or unnecessary surgery
- Premature discharge or poor followup care
- Improper medication or dosage
- Failure to order testing or misreading test results
- Disregarding or not taking patient history
Characteristics of Medical Malpractice
The definition of medical malpractice is very specific. It involves more than just a poor patient outcome. You have to be able to prove that you came to significant harm as a result of the hospital’s or physician’s deviation from the standard of care.
For example, say you suspect your surgeon of negligence resulting in a postsurgical infection. You need to be able to prove that his or her actions were inconsistent with what a reasonable surgeon would have done in a similar situation.
You also need to prove that your infection was the result of negligence on the part of your surgeon and would not have occurred otherwise. Postsurgical infections are not evidence of malpractice in and of themselves. However, if you can prove that your surgeon did not follow protocol with regard to handwashing or instrument sterilization, you may have grounds for a malpractice suit.
Finally, you have to be able to demonstrate that you suffered significant damages as a result. Malpractice lawsuits are expensive and time-consuming to litigate. For it to be worth everyone’s time, including your own and your attorney’s, there must be at least a possibility of a significant award should the court decide the case in your favor. If the award is unlikely to cover your legal fees, it is not worth pursuing further.
Approximately 200,000 people in the United States die as a result of medical malpractice on a yearly basis, making it the third leading cause of death in the country. It can be difficult to recover damages from a negligent doctor or hospital, contact a medical malpractice attorney, like a medical malpractice lawyer from Philadelphia, PA, today.