Home > Blog

A Comprehensive Guide to Medical Malpractice

Patients place immeasurable trust in their healthcare providers, and doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals do indeed often live up to these expectations. However, these workers are also human and therefore susceptible to errors and oversights that can lead to significant problems or even create new ones. These situations can result in medical malpractice, where the patient's rights are violated. 

This guide navigates through the complex world of medical malpractice, from the victim's rights to the legal processes and the steps that can be taken if you find yourself in such a situation. 

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to a healthcare provider's failure to meet the standard level of care expected in their field, resulting in harm to the patient. 

For example, if a surgeon operates on the wrong body part, their lack of meeting the standard of care in identifying the correct body part amounts to negligence, and they are thus liable for damages.

There are several types of medical malpractice:

  • Misdiagnosis: Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional inaccurately diagnoses a patient, which can lead to incorrect treatment and exacerbated health conditions. 
  • Late diagnosis - Late diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose an illness or condition in a timely manner. A delay in diagnosis can worsen the patient's symptoms and reduce their chances of survival.
  • Surgical Errors - These errors happen in the operating room, such as operating on the wrong site or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient. 
  • Medication Errors - This involves the incorrect prescription or administration of drugs or high doses of medicines. 
  • Birth Injuries - Injuries to a baby to the mother during childbirth due to medical negligence fall under this category.

Who is at Fault?

Identifying the party at fault in medical malpractice can encompass a range of players, not limited to just the doctors or surgeons. Nurses, anesthesiologists, medical technicians, and even the hospital could be liable. 

For instance, a hospital may be held accountable for employing inadequate staff or lacking necessary equipment. Similarly, a pharmacy could be responsible for dispensing incorrect medication or dosage. 

Therefore, determining fault isn't straightforward and often requires comprehensively examining the circumstances surrounding the mishap.

What To Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice?

A doctor, health care professional, or institution implicated in a medical malpractice case could see their reputation tarnished and their medical license threatened. Therefore, they might employ a defense strategy to mitigate the impact on their career, so coming forward with a claim requires sufficient and compelling evidence. 

“Start by getting a professional second opinion. An independent medical examination can affirm or disprove the accuracy of your initial diagnosis and the treatment you received. Maintaining a detailed journal is also critical,” says Attorney Russell J. Berkowitz of Berkowitz Hanna Malpractice & Injury Lawyers.  

Keep track of symptoms, conversations with medical personnel, and any changes in your condition. This documentation could be key in establishing a timeline of events and the impact of the alleged malpractice on your health.

Requesting all your medical records is another essential step. These documents provide a more holistic view of your treatment plan and can potentially highlight any inconsistencies or errors.

Talk to a Lawyer

Avoid discussing your situation directly with the defendant's lawyer or insurer. They may attempt to manipulate your statements to their advantage or coerce you into accepting an inadequate settlement offer. 

A medical malpractice lawyer can assist in navigating the complexities of a medical malpractice lawsuit, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you have the best chance at obtaining the compensation you deserve.

More to Read: