What is Medical Malpractice?
Simply put, malpractice is the deviation from the standard of care in any particular field of medicine resulting in an injury caused by that malpractice. In addition to the deviation, there must be damages and those damages must have been caused by the malpractice.
Deviations are varied, but can include the following:
- Failing to perform procedures within the standard of care
- Negligently prescribing medications
- Failing to diagnose diseases and conditions
- Failing to give the patient informed consent by not giving adequate warnings about the dangers of procedures
- Not giving patients their options about other procedures, tests, or treatments available
- Prescribing the wrong medications
- Failing to make appropriate referrals to specialists
- Failing to order appropriate diagnostic tests
- Performing procedures that are unnecessary and cause harm
Because of the costs and expenses of a malpractice claim, cases must have sufficient damages to pursue. It is not enough that the patient’s healthcare fell bellow the standard of care, there must be significant damages. These damages can include physical injury, permanent impairment, loss of quality of life, economic damages and even death. The determination of what constitutes significant damages is one that the personal injury attorney will work with the client to determine.
The final requirement of what constitutes a medical malpractice claim is causation. Causation is a complex legal requirement, but essentially means that the malpractice was what caused the injury. Oftentimes, even when there is malpractice, the injury may have resulted regardless of the deviation of the standard of care.