What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or hospital causes an injury to a patient through a negligent act. This negligence might be due to errors in diagnosis, treatment, or health management. The four elements of malpractice are duty of care owed to patients, dereliction of this duty of care, and the economic or non-economic losses suffered by the patient.
It has three characteristics:
- If the treatment has not been consistent with the standard of care.
- Only if the person has suffered an injury due to negligence.
- If the injury has resulted in significant damages like disability, pain, or significant burden of medical bills.
Examples of medical malpractice
- Failure to diagnose
- Misreading laboratory results
- Surgical errors or unnecessary injuries
- Improper medication
- Premature discharge
- Failure to recognize symptoms
Medical malpractice law
Malpractice laws vary among nations but it follows a general rule that happens when a health care practitioner does not show a competent degree of skill when providing medical care to a patient or if a practitioner holds himself out as a specialist and do not provide appropriate care.
As laws vary by jurisdiction, specific professionals may be targeted:
- Physicians, surgeons, dentists
- Nurses, midwives, nurse practitioner
- Physiotherapists, osteopaths, podiatrists, etc.
To prove that medical malpractice has occurred, the following things should be proved:
A doctor- patient relationship existed:
There should be proof of the physician’s or doctor’s appointment and that the doctor simultaneously agreed to it. For example a person cannot sue a doctor if he heard him advising at a party.
The doctor was negligent:
A person cannot blame a doctor just because he is not satisfied with his treatment, to sue a doctor, there should be proof of negligence.
Injury due to doctor’s negligence:
It is hard to prove that injury or death is caused by doctors’ negligence. For example, if a patient dies after cancer, it is difficult to prove that the patient died because of cancer and not because of the doctor’s negligence. In such cases, the patient should have a medical expert testimony to prove that the injury is caused by doctors’ negligence.
Requirements of malpractice cases:
- Medical malpractice cases should be brought immediately without any delay often between six months and two years. Because, if a person does not file it in a proposed time, the court will dismiss it.
- Many states demand the patient to first submit the claim to a malpractice review panel. The panel experts will analyze and then decide whether it is malpractice or not. The findings of the review panel are presented in court.
- Some states require special notice requirements given by the patient to the doctor before filing a case.
- Experts’ testimony is required in front of a malpractice review panel.
A malpractice lawyer basically represents clients who are suing medical doctors or practitioners for negligence.
How do they work?
Malpractice lawyers perform day to day work of a typical civil litigator. Civil litigators work on cases where there’s legal discord but no criminal charges. They interview clients, investigate the case, develop trial strategies, and litigate cases.
Medical malpractice lawyers also perform the following tasks:
- They work with medical experts to develop case theories, reports, and testimony to support the case.
- They gather and analyze medical records
- They take the deposition of medical experts, personnel, and other third parties
- They set up medical examinations to obtain an objective evaluation of the injured patient.
- Working with legal nurse consultants to analyze case merits and medical records.
There is detailed information about dealing with malpractice on www.bakerandgilchrist.com.
The attorney’s ultimate role is to compensate victims and their families by proving the care or treatment was not substantial. The lawyer helps a person with all the necessary requirements. It is vital to choose the best lawyer for the case because an inexperienced lawyer can lose the case.
The attorney helps you to recover and compensate. The compensation can be in any of these ways:
- Payment of all past, current, and future medical bills that are associated with injury
- Damages for disfigurement, pain, and suffering.
- Retraining for employment if the injury is severe enough to make the person unable to work.
How to protect your family from malpractice?
There are the following ways from which we can protect family members or loved ones from negligence or malpractice:
● A designated family member as an advocate:
Ask the doctor to include a person in any discussion regarding the patient’s treatment or health.
● Speak up for the things if they do not seem right:
Do not hesitate in asking things if they do not seem right to you.
● Asking the questions:
Ask questions to trigger the medical practitioner to think of alternative diagnoses because medical providers often get stuck on one diagnosis. It is important for them to remain flexible and to think of possible diagnoses. Seek for someone else if questions are not being adequately answered.
Emergency room negligence attorneys:
Emergency rooms are quite chaotic and have multiple doctors performing their duties, making negligence possible. Therefore, the patient must prove two things to demonstrate negligence:
- Standard of care
- And breach of standard care.
The above article explains the importance of medical malpractice lawyers following hospital negligence or malpractice. There is a misconception that doctors, nurses always provide appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and healthcare but sometimes these expectations are not met due to malpractices.
If somebody becomes the victim of serious malpractice, it is important to seek help from a medical malpractice lawyer. A malpractice lawyer helps in investigating the case, presenting it in the court of law, and compensating the victim’s family. A firm and experienced malpractice lawyer should be hired for better control of the case.
The biggest mistake often done by the patient is the delay of the case. Time is an important factor in proving that malpractice actually occurs so it is important to file a case as soon as possible after malpractice occurs.
It is important to keep an intact medical record and have proper knowledge of the disease before choosing a doctor and treatment.