What is medical malpractice? And when should you consider making a claim


Accidents can and do happen in all areas of life; however, when an error occurs during medical treatment, it may qualify as medical malpractice.

Errors in the medical industry are surprisingly common and often result in serious consequences for the victim. An accident during medical care is considered medical malpractice if it results in significant harm to an individual. As a result, many medical professionals tend to apply for medical malpractice insurance to protect their practice.

Even healthcare professionals providing services through telemedicine can find value in having telemedicine malpractice insurance. Considering the distinct nuances and potential risks associated with delivering medical care virtually, it becomes crucial for these professionals to be covered by insurance explicitly designed to address the unique liabilities tied to virtual healthcare provision.

What are the causes of malpractice?

Common causes of malpractice include when a medical practitioner fails to take appropriate action administers insufficient treatment or provides inappropriate/substandard care for the needs of a patient resulting in injury or death.

Other typical causes include supplying incorrect dosage of medicines, making an inaccurate diagnosis, administering poor general health management and providing poor aftercare.

In the US alone, it’s estimated that around 15,000 to 19,000 medical malpractice cases are brought against the healthcare industry every year. A personal injury/medical malpractice lawyer like Brown and Crouppen can advise you of your rights if you feel you’ve been subject to care which you consider substandard.

The definition of medical malpractice

Society has a right to expect its healthcare practitioners to act professionally and provide reasonable standards of care. If a doctor, hospital or healthcare worker deviates from these standards, they may be liable for a medical malpractice action. An attorney will be able to advise you on specifics but, as a general rule, cases are normally determined by a few defining factors:

Provision of deficient care: A healthcare professional may be considered negligent if they fail to provide you with an adequate standard of care.

Treatment or care, which results in injury or death: The onus is on the claimant to prove that the treatment or health management provided by a hospital, doctor or healthcare worker resulted in injury or death. If there is no harm, there is no basis for a claim.

The consequences of injury: Again, the onus lies with the claimant to prove that they suffered in some significant way from the injury. Dissatisfaction with treatment is not sufficient to make a medical malpractice claim. Rather, the claimant must prove considerable damage was caused as a result of poor treatment – for example, enduring pain, loss of wages, pain, disability or, in the worst case, death.

The most common types of malpractice

In the vast majority of cases, malpractice actions are brought against a medical practitioner who has made an error completely by accident. It is extremely rare for intentional harm to occur in the healthcare industry – though it can sometimes happen. More typically, a health worker will have:

  • Performed unnecessary/incorrect surgery on a patient
  • Misdiagnosed or failed to spot illness or other risks in the patient
  • Failed to execute tests appropriate to a patient’s condition – or failed to act on their results
  • Forgotten to follow up a patient following diagnosis or treatment
  • Failed to remove medical tools or other substances from a patient’s body after surgery
  • Operated on the incorrect part of the patient’s body
  • Prescribed incorrect medication – or the supplied the wrong dosage
  • Discharged a patient from care too early

Malpractice can also be brought against a hospital if a patient contracts an unrelated illness while in care or suffers persistent discomfort following a surgical operation. Also, actions have been brought when fires have occurred in hospitals or when a patient has committed suicide whilst under the care of a healthcare establishment.

If you’re in any doubt whether you might qualify for compensation as a result of medical malpractice, you should seek advice from a qualified legal practitioner who will be able to advise you of the chances of successfully making a claim.

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