Important Facts That Every Informed Patient Should Know About Medical Malpractice

Law Blog

In today's litigious society, it can seem as if every time you turn around, someone is always suing or threatening to sue another person. Unfortunately, that has led to many misconceptions that can impact the way you perceive certain aspects of the medical field when you believe that a mistake or deliberate error was made by a doctor or other health care provider. Therefore, it is a good idea for every informed patient to be aware of the following information when they have been injured by negligence, lack of knowledge, or a mistake by their doctor. 

Medical Malpractice Can Occur In Many Different Ways

While it is easy to associate medical malpractice with deaths or significant injury, it can be seen any time that a mistake, act of negligence, or lack of knowledge results in physical or psychological problems for a patient. While the death of Michael Jackson has been an obvious example to many people of medical malpractice, other examples are not as easy to detect. For example, a physician prescribing two medications to the same patient that are harmful when taken together is a common example, as is giving the wrong diagnosis and providing unnecessary treatment.    

However, if drug errors were caught by the office staff, pharmacist, patient, or other person and you never actually were injured by the error, you may not be able to seek recompense, as discussed below.

There Are Five Elements That Must Be Established In Order To File Suit

In order to be able to file a medical malpractice suit against a health care provider, it will be necessary to establish five elements of your case. The first element to be aware of is that you need to prove that the patient was owed a duty. That essentially means that the health care provider who allegedly made a mistake was your provider, even if it was for only a brief period of time. If you saw a doctor in the emergency room who spent two minutes with you prior to diagnosing your condition, he or she was your doctor. If you saw someone in medical scrubs at the grocery store who noticed your rash and advised you to use a topical cream that you later had a reaction to, that person might not be your physician and therefore owed you no duty.

The next component to establish is that the provider did not provide the same treatments that other health care providers would have under similar circumstances. For instance, if you have a bacterial ear infection, most providers would give you a prescription. If your doctor advised you to only use a warm compress and the infection led to a hearing loss, the provider breached their duty. That breach obviously resulted in your injury,  which is the third event that must be substantiated.

The last two aspects that will need to be proven can be seen as extensions of previous elements. The fourth is that the person providing the treatment or diagnosis did so in a way that other providers would not under similar circumstances. The fifth, and final, requires you to establish how you were injured and the cost or extent of the damage. The damage can be physical, such as the previously mentioned hearing loss, or in the form of pain and suffering, which might be seen if the untreated ear infection caused significant pain before being effectively treated. Another example might be if you had reason to believe that you would lose part or all of your hearing due to the negligence of your health care provider, even if you did not actually do so.      

In conclusion, medical malpractice impacts medical costs and patient care in a myriad of ways every year in the United States. Therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of the information provided above if you think you have been the victim of medical malpractice.    


5 January 2017

Do You Understand The Law?

When it comes to your personal rights, how much do you really understand the law. About ten years ago, I realized that I didn't really understand my rights when I was accused of something that I knew I didn't do. I could tell that I needed to work with a lawyer who had a better understanding of what I was up against, so I contacted a local team that could help. They were really incredible to work with, and I was impressed with how well they were able to fight the charges. This blog is here for anyone struggling with legal drama.