Working in the healthcare industry is a duty that involves more responsibility than most other jobs. However, due to its frantic nature and high stakes, practitioners are still prone to human error, and mistakes can be made by experienced doctors and fresh interns alike. These mistakes can cause medical malpractice lawsuits.
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed due to negligence or poor decisions made by their doctors. This can be a misdiagnosis, administering the wrong medicine dosage, or neglect when caring for a patient. Medical malpractice law exists to compensate patients who have suffered harm due to substandard or negligent practice.
Around 250,000 people die due to medical errors, surpassing respiratory diseases, which kill about 150,000 annually. This article aims to provide information regarding what constitutes medical malpractice and the basic requirements for a malpractice claim.
What Falls Under Medical Malpractice?
The following practices can result in the patient suing their healthcare provider:
Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a serious illness can result in severe consequences and prolonged distress for a patient. For instance, misdiagnosing diabetes can result in repercussions such as a coma or even death. If a second practitioner in the same position makes the correct diagnosis, the patient has grounds for a malpractice claim against the first doctor.
- Improper Treatment
Failure to administer treatment competently or proceeding with the wrong treatment altogether can be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. The malpractice claim only holds if the procedure was evidently unnecessary or illogical. For example, if the patient requires surgery and the practitioner merely provides painkillers, this may be considered malpractice.
- Failure to Warn a Patient About Known Risks
It is the duty of medical practitioners to warn their patients of possible adverse effects of the treatments they are administered, such as the risks associated with certain surgeries or the side effects of certain drugs. This responsibility is called the duty of informed consent, and overlooking it can cause malpractice lawsuits. If the patient would have rather refused treatment due to the risks associated with it and is harmed due to being uninformed, they have the grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
The Basic Requirements of a Medical Malpractice Claim
Malpractice lawsuits are often complex and are best dealt with by specialized medical malpractice lawsuit firms, such as The Tinker Law Firm PLLC. Note that you can only file a case against the healthcare provider when your case meets the following criteria:
- Existing Doctor-Patient Relationship
The patient needs to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed between them and the healthcare provider.
- The Doctor Was Negligent
Being dissatisfied with the treatment outcome does not constitute negligence on behalf of the doctor. The patient needs to show that the doctor was negligent in administering a diagnosis or a treatment that another professional in the same position would have administered correctly.
- The Negligence Resulted in Harm
Additionally, the patient needs to prove that the negligence behavior on the doctor’s part directly resulted in the patient’s harm. This can be in the form of injury or prolonged, unnecessary distress.
If you believe you have sustained harm due to medical malpractice, it is well within your rights to file a lawsuit. The relevant laws and regulations can vary from state to state, and the statute of limitations for filing malpractice lawsuits can be anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the state.