In the United States, medical malpractice is a term used for when a hospital or doctor causes injury to a patient due to negligence. Medical malpractice can be any of the following:
- Misdiagnosing a condition
- Failure to follow up with patient
- Surgical errors or unnecessary surgery
- Improper medication or doses
- Failure to diagnose symptoms
To have a medical malpractice case you must have the following four requirements:
- Professional relationship between the doctor and patient: A professional relationship proves that it is the doctor’s duty to take care of the patients’ needs to treat them accordingly.
- An injury or malpractice was caused by the professional’s negligence: The patient must be able to prove an injury resulted from the doctor’s carelessness. For example, if you needed knee surgery on your right knee, and before performing the surgery the doctor failed to look at your medical papers and ended up performing surgery on the wrong knee, you now have a case for medical malpractice.
- The patient must be able to prove that his injuries were caused by the doctor’s negligence: Similar to number two, the patient must be able to provide evidence that his or her injuries were caused or exacerbated by the health care professional. For instance, you continuously visit the doctor due to stomach pain and with every visit, the doctor prescribes higher and higher doses of medication without running additional tests. Within the next few days, you go to the hospital because you can no longer bare the pain. Upon proper care, you were informed that you have a more serious condition which could have been diagnosed with proper testing. This is an example of medical malpractice. In this case, your proof will be in the fact that you continued doctor visits where he/she failed to fully diagnose your condition.
- The patient must show that the injury caused serious damages: The patient must be able to provide evidence that because of the carelessness of the hospital or doctor the patient suffered a loss. If we use the first example, since you got knee surgery on the wrong knee, you now have to go back to the hospital so they can perform surgery on the correct knee. Having to go back for another surgery causes you to miss more time from work, pay for a second surgery, and have a longer recovery time. You will most likely look into hiring a lawyer to sue the doctor or hospital for the failure of their duty toward your needs.
If you believe that you or a family member has been a victim of medical malpractice, it is best to see a lawyer where they can advise you on the steps you should take when filing a case. Ultimately, a lawyer will be able to help you receive the compensation that you deserve.