What is Medical Malpractice?

by Clayton Crowley
in Blog
on 17 June 2014
Hits: 1746

The Top Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Mexico Crowley
& Gribble P.C.

Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other
health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury
to a patient. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis,
treatment, and aftercare or health management.

To be considered medical malpractice under the law, the
claim must have the following characteristics:

•A violation of the standard of care - The law acknowledges
that there are certain medical standards that are recognized by the profession
as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care
professionals under like or similar circumstances. This is known as the
standard of care. A patient has the right to expect that health care
professionals will deliver care that is consistent with these standards. If it
is determined that the standard of care has not been met, then negligence may
be established.

•An injury was caused by the negligence - For a medical
malpractice claim to be valid, it is not sufficient that a health care
professional simply violated the standard of care. The patient must also prove
he or she sustained an injury that would not have occurred in the absence of
negligence. An unfavorable outcome by itself is not malpractice. The patient
must prove that the negligence caused the injury. If there is an injury without
negligence or negligence that did not cause an injury, there is no case.

•The injury resulted in significant damages - Medical
malpractice lawsuits are extremely expensive to litigate, frequently requiring
testimony of numerous medical experts and countless hours of deposition
testimony. For a case to be viable, the patient must show that significant
damages resulted from an injury received due to the medical negligence. If the
damages are small, the cost of pursuing the case might be greater than the
eventual recovery. To pursue a medical malpractice claim, the patient must show
that the injury resulted in disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering
and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can take many forms. Here are some
examples of medical negligence that might lead to a lawsuit:

•Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis

•Misreading or ignoring laboratory results

•Unnecessary surgery

•Surgical errors or wrong site surgery

•Improper medication or dosage

•Poor follow-up or aftercare

•Premature discharge

•Disregarding or not taking appropriate patient history

•Failure to order proper testing

•Failure to recognize symptoms

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