Medical Malpractice: Meaning & Example

You visited a doctor or hospital and aren’t satisfied with the treatment outcome. Now, you may think it’s a case of medical malpractice but it is not.  Mere dissatisfaction with the outcome of treatment does not mean you’re a victim of medical malpractice. Before you seek legal remedy, it’s important to find out what exactly medical malpractice is. So, let’s find out!

Meaning of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient gets harmed or injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals need to follow a certain standard of care. A breach of their duty and negligence that causes harm or injury comes in the category of personal injury law. If a physician makes a mistake or fails to perform duty and that negatively impacts the patient, then the victim has the right to file a lawsuit. The injured patient can sue the healthcare provider to pay for the unnecessary medical bills and lost wages due to the negligence. However, the patient needs to prove that the healthcare professional has neglected to provide appropriate treatment, failed to perform their duty, or has given substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient. It could be tricky to prove this, especially if you’re filing a lawsuit several days post-injury. But a qualified personal injury lawyer can gather evidence and file a lawsuit to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

The cases of medical malpractice or negligence typically include negligence, omission, or a medical error. This could occur at any stage of treatment- diagnosis, medication dosage, surgery, health management, or aftercare. Negligence or medical error committed by a physician can cause serious harm to the patient. Besides bodily harm, it also causes financial loss due to extra medical expenses and wage loss because of absence from work. In addition to this, there is also emotional stress. However, the law has given a right to the injured patients to recover compensation for any harm that results from sub-standard treatment.

Simply because you didn’t get the expected outcome from treatment doesn’t mean the doctor is at fault. Moreover, if a doctor neglects the duty but the patient is not harmed, then there is no claim. In most countries, medical malpractice includes certain factors such as:

  • Failure or negligence to provide a proper standard of care that healthcare professional must follow.
  • An injury that results from negligence
  • Damaging consequences of the injury such as pain and suffering, hardship, loss of income, or disability


Example of Medical Malpractice

Once you hire a personal injury attorney, this professional will examine your case and file a lawsuit. The lawyer will make sure that your case meets all requirements and get evidence to support your claim. To file a case, you will need to prove the doctor-patient relationship by showing your appointment and payment details. Then your attorney will prove negligence by the doctor that caused you injury or harm. Typically, medical malpractice occurs when there is:

  • misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
  • prescribing the wrong medication or dosage
  • unnecessary or incorrect surgery
  • Misreading or ignoring laboratory results
  • premature discharge
  • not following up
  • leaving things inside the patient’s body after surgery
  • Surgical errors or surgery of the wrong part of the body
  • persistent pain after surgery
  • Failure to identify symptoms
  • get fatal infections in the hospital
  • And more!

In all these cases, the victim can sue the healthcare provider and get compensation for:

  • physical pain
  • mental suffering
  • additional medical bills
  • lost work and income

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