Medical malpractice is any medical treatment that breaches the “standard of care” that doctors, nurses, dentists, and other medical professionals are required to withhold, resulting in the patient’s injury or death.
The required standard of care would be the kind of medical treatment that a prudent, reasonable medical provider in the community would provide under the same circumstances.
While the specific definition of medical malpractice varies from state to state, it is most commonly defined as an act or omission by a healthcare provider in which medical care deviates from the recognized standards of practice in the medical community, which results in an injury or death of the patient.
According to a recent study, medical errors may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the United States, making them the third-leading cause of death.
The most common types of malpractice cases are:
- Misdiagnosis: Misdiagnosis is the failure to diagnose a significant issue in a patient. It is a common form of malpractice among healthcare providers across the United States.
If a healthcare provider gives a wrong diagnosis to a patient or misses a diagnosis and fails to treat the disease properly, the healthcare provider may have committed medical malpractice. An example may be a radiologist who fails to diagnose an apparent tumor in a patient.
- Maternal Death: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report that talks about women dying in the US from health complications associated with pregnancy.
According to the report, three out of every five mothers who died during pregnancy or childbirth could have survived had they received proper medical care. The report also found that these preventable fatalities do not just occur during pregnancy or childbirth, but can also occur for a year after giving birth.
People can die due to a healthcare professional’s ignorance and, in such cases, it is important to consult a wrongful death lawyer so that they can help to protect your rights. They can also help you get better compensation for the losses you suffered.
The CDC believes that healthcare providers need to be more proactive about identifying certain health risks and ensuring that patients at higher risks receive the care they need.
While the pregnancy and childbirth processes can be unpredictable, and unavoidable complications may arise, the CDC also reports that more than half of all maternal deaths in the United States are preventable.
Some of the causes include delayed and missed diagnoses, the failure to identify clear warning signs, and the lack of access to quality healthcare. According to the CDC’s reproductive health division director, risk awareness, quality services, and early diagnoses can significantly prevent approximately 700 pregnancy-related deaths every year.
- Anesthesia: These errors can occur when anesthesiologists administer the wrong dose of anesthesia to a patient. A wrong amount of anesthesia can result in serious complications, such as brain damage or death. Wrong administration of anesthesia often occurs due to a physician’s carelessness or negligence.
- Surgical Errors: This is another common type of malpractice. When a surgeon performs a surgery incorrectly and deviates from the standard of care, the patient can get injured or killed.
Research shows that about 100,000 hospital patients die because of surgical errors each year. Surgical errors include leaving instruments inside patients — resulting in severe infections — or operating on the wrong part of the body.
Medical malpractice in the United States is a very alarming issue. For every medical malpractice case, insurance companies hire a professional right away.
So, if you are a victim of any medical malpractice, you should consult a professional right away before you speak to anyone else about the incident. However, if you plan to take your case to court, here are some other important considerations that you should bear in mind.
Keep to Things in Mind
To ensure that you have a solid medical malpractice case, you need to include the doctor’s behavior and your medical history. The court will often ask whether the victim had done anything to cause or contribute to the bad medical result. It is a common tactic of medical malpractice defense attorneys to blame the patient.
Next, if it is a birth trauma case, questions to ask include:
- Did the mother have proper prenatal care?
- Did she smoke or use drugs during her pregnancy?
In most other cases, common questions include:
- Did the patient follow the doctor’s orders?
- Did the patient keep their appointments, take their medicine as instructed, and tell the doctor the truth?
Before pursuing a claim, it is important that you can successfully answer all of the relevant questions above. The sooner you hire an experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer, the better your chances are of protecting your rights as an injured victim.