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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

What Is Considered Medical Malpractice?

by Andrew Martin

Medical malpractice is a term that many people outside of the medical and legal fields are familiar with thanks to cases discussed in the news or present in storylines on television shows. However, while many people have heard of it most are unfamiliar with what it is and what it exactly means. In short, medical malpractice usual involves some kind of unnecessary harm being done to a patient through the actions of a medical practitioner. If something is considered medical malpractice, it usually means that it qualifies as one of the following.

Injury or Death Caused By Medical Negligence

It's hard to prove that there was medical malpractice in most cases unless there is significant evidence supporting a claim. Negligence itself can cover a lot as it usually involves something being done or occurring that should have been preventable by the person who caused it. Patients and their families need to prove what about their care was negligent and that the injury would not have happened if the negligence was absent.

An instance of negligence is often caused by a medical practitioner making a serious mistake. It usually is something that, through their professional training, should have been preventable or at least caught and the appropriate actions taken to avoid significant damage from occurring. Cases of negligence are more than just the patient being dissatisfied with the results of their care, but seriously injured or even killed by the actions of the medical staff treating them.

Examples of negligent medical malpractice can include:

  • Errors in surgery such as operating on the wrong body part. Having a patient undergo an unnecessary surgery may also apply.
  • Prescribing the incorrect dosage for a person's medication or the wrong medication entirely.
  • Ignoring lab results or misreading them. Not ordering a necessary test or the wrong test can sometimes count too.
  • Not recognizing symptoms or misdiagnosing. This often needs to be symptoms that are obvious or significantly noticeable. An extreme example would be looking at the symptoms of pneumonia and diagnosing it as the common cold or flu.
  • Ignoring or disregarding the patient's history, such as administering penicillin or one of its derivatives even though the patient has a clearly documented history of being allergic to it.

Violation of Care Standards

Malpractice can also be considered if there were clear violations of the standards of medical care administered to the patient. It can contribute to an instance of negligence or even be caused by some of the examples of negligence listed above. Patients are given the right to expect the medical professionals caring for them are going to follow the appropriate procedure for their care and adhere to the standards of their field.

Instances where medical malpractice is a result or contributed to by violations of the standards of care can include:

  • Not following procedures. An example would be skipping steps during an exam of a patient admitted to the emergency room after a car crash.
  • Discharging patients too early. Allowing a patient to leave against medical advice (AMA) is not the same as telling them to leave when they need to have life-saving surgery.
  • Inadequate care. Doing a poor job of changing the bandages on a person's injury or not changing the dressings when they need to be is a possible example.

It should be noted that there are some leniencies with violations of care standards. Medical students are one such instance, but some of the blame is usually held by the fully trained professionals that are—or should be—supervising them as they administer care.

Damages To The Patient

People often file medical malpractice claims because there was significant damage done to them as a patient. While a malpractice lawsuit won't reverse the damage, it can at least do something to alleviate it for the patient and their family. Damages usually involve:

  • Loss of income, such as if a simple procedure goes wrong and they are unable to work for weeks or months instead of a few days.
  • Disability like paralysis, blindness, or the unnecessary loss of a limb.
  • The appearance and persistence of pain after a procedure, usually permanent.
  • Suffering and hardship, usually of a financial, physical, and/or psychological nature. Instances where unnecessary procedures were done on the patient, with them being billed for and recovering from each one, apply.

Medical malpractice is not something that should be taken lightly. Understanding what is considered medical malpractice can help those who are unsure if they have been a victim of it and help guide them in their next steps. Those who believe they have a valid medical malpractice case should do what they can to seek justice for themselves and their loved ones. Call a personal injury attorney and take action and do what needs to be done to make sure that it doesn't happen to anyone else.