Medical malpractice is a legal term used to describe a situation where a medical professional fails to provide proper care or treatment, and a patient suffers because of it. It may involve an injury, worsened condition, or even death.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical practitioners take an oath to provide medical treatment of the highest quality and treat each patient with care. When they fail to provide the proper quality of care, it may result in medical malpractice. Some things that constitute medical malpractice are:
- Negligence during treatment. If a doctor or other medical professional makes a mistake due to negligence and it causes injury or death to a patient.
- Failure to provide the proper quality of care. The state sets standards for levels of care that physicians must adhere to.
- Damage. The injury or harm caused by the medical professional results in damage (physical, emotional, financial) to the patient or patient’s family (in the circumstance of death).
The damage caused by medical malpractice may include physical or mental suffering, financial hardship, chronic pain, permanent disability, or death.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are many forms of medical malpractice, and some of the most common issues include:
- Misdiagnosis of a severe illness or injury.
- Failure to order the proper tests to diagnose an ailment.
- Performing an incorrect or unnecessary surgery.
- Discharging someone prematurely from the hospital.
- Prescribing incorrect medicine or the wrong dosage (for example, giving a patient medication they are allergic to when the allergy is listed on the chart).
- Leaving items like a sponge in the person’s body after surgery.
- Not following up after surgery or a major medical procedure.
- Operating on the incorrect body part.
- Failing to take the complete patient’s history before treatment.
- Ignoring or misreading lab results and acting upon them.
- The patient catches a fatal infection at the hospital.
- Persistent pain after treatment.
There are many cases of medical malpractice each year. Most involve misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosing a patient. Many lawsuits stem from doctors prescribing blood thinners which cause internal bleeding for some patients.
Shockingly, a John Hopkins study shows that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease and cancer are one and two.
Where to Turn for Help
In a malpractice lawsuit, the plaintiff can ask for compensatory damages as well as punitive damages. If you have been injured or a loved one has died due to medical malpractice, contact Baron & Herskowitz. We want to help.