We trust doctors and other medical professionals to help us to heal or treat our bodies. That’s why it may be shocking to learn that sometimes these trusted professionals might cause more harm than good. In fact, after cancer and heart disease, injuries caused by medical error are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. This is not to say that all injuries or fatalities that occur while under the care of medical professionals are medical malpractice. After all, there is only so much that medical providers can do. But this is what makes it so difficult to prove when an act of true medical malpractice has occurred.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured or killed due to a negligent act of their medical care provider. When such an injury occurs, the injured patient or his or her family members may seek compensation for their losses.
Medical professionals must provide a recognized standard of care to his or her patients. If this medical provider fails to meet this standard of care in that he or she does not act as a prudent medical professional in the same or similar situation would, and it leads to a patient being injured, the health care provider may be held liable. For instance, if the doctor commits negligence during childbirth causes the baby to suffer from a permanent birth injury, the doctor (and his or her hospital) may be liable.
Establishing Medical Malpractice
In order for a harmed patient to prove medical malpractice, he or she must meet three requirements:
- There was a violation of the standard of care (negligence);
- There was an injury caused by the negligence; and
- The injury caused significant damages.
In order to prove significant damages, the plaintiff must be able to show that the negligence (malpractice) resulted in preventable injury, pain, suffering, loss of income, or substantial past or future medical bills.
Common Types of Medical Negligence
While there are many different types of medical negligence, the following acts are commonly considered malpractice, with the patient seeking to bring a claim. These include:
- Failure to adequately take patient history
- Failure to order the correct diagnostic test(s)
- Failure to recognize the symptoms
- Failure to diagnose
- Delayed diagnosis
- Ignoring or misreading lab results
- Surgery on the wrong side
- Unnecessary surgery
- Premature discharge
- Improper type or dosage of medication
Challenges to Bringing a Claim for Medical Malpractice
In order for a case of medical malpractice to be successful, the plaintiff should take a few things into consideration.
Firstly, it’s important to consider the extent of your damages. If your damages are small, the cost of pursuing a legal case may be greater than the amount of compensation that you could potentially recover.
Next, it’s important to consider whether the harm that occurred was a direct result of your medical provider’s negligence (recklessness or carelessness). Things go wrong all the time in the medical world. It’s not enough that something went wrong. The medical provider must have failed to meet their recognized standard of care.
Finally, you must have enough information to be able to persuade a jury. You must be able to provide a clear explanation as to what the defendant did that failed to meet the standard of care. This is often done through the expert testimony of doctors who have similar training and experience as the defendant(s).
MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Suffered Injuries as a Result of Medical Malpractice
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or been killed as a result of medical malpractice, it can be devastating. You should never have to pay the price for someone else’s mistakes. While you can’t go back and time and change what has transpired, you deserve to be able to move forward as best as possible.
At MPJ Law Firm, we understand what’s involved in proving medical malpractice. We will always act in your best interest. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Medical Malpractice