When we’re ill, we put our trust in the hands of doctors, midwives, dentists, and other medical professionals. The vast majority of the time, we are cared for in a professional and compassionate way.
Medical malpractice is a situation where a health care provider does not provide the appropriate level of treatment, does not take recommended or appropriate action, or causes injury or death to their patient.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Usually, a medical malpractice case involves bringing a lawsuit for a medical error in the diagnosis, treatment, or management of a patient. In these cases, you can bring an action to recover financial compensation from the doctor or facility responsible.
As a patient, you are entitled to expect a competent standard of care. A health professional is legally responsible if their patient comes to harm because of a substandard level of care.
The law around this differs slightly by state. In order for medical malpractice to be proven, one of the following should apply.
Failure of standards of care - if medical treatment falls below certain standards then they can be held legally responsible.
Injury as a result of negligence - you must be able to prove that you have come to harm because of medical negligence. You cannot claim is there is no harm or injury, even if there was negligence.
The injury must have a detrimental effect - you need to be able to show that the harm you suffered affects you in an ongoing way such as:
Loss of income
The most common types of medical malpractice include:
Surgical items left in bodies after procedures.
The wrong body part being operated on
Traumatic birth injury
The effects of medical negligence are not always limited to the physical. You can be psychologically scarred too. For example, a traumatic birth experience can leave women to experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which can worsen postnatal depression and have a huge impact on her quality of life for years.
What To Do If You Believe You Have Experienced Medical Negligence
If you believe your standard of care poor and has directly caused you to harm on any level, then you are within your rights to pursue a claim against the medical professional or facility that treated you.
You should first find a lawyer or law firm that is experienced in medical malpractice and has particular experience in the relevant medical area. They will be able to take your statement, acquire your medical records for a second opinion, and make a judgment on the validity of your case and the likelihood of success.
Medical negligence cases are often settled before they go to trial. Your lawyer will be able to advise you on whether you should settle, but ultimately, it is your decision. You may decide that you want everything to be over as soon as possible and take the settlement, or you might believe that their settlement offer is too small and that a trial would have a more favorable outcome.
You need to do what is right for you and your family.
It’s important to note that even though the rate of medical negligence cases is rising, they still account for only a very small percentage of total medical procedures performed each year.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.