Four Characteristics That Indicate a Procedure or Treatment May Qualify as Medical Malpractice

Law Articles

Did you recently receive medical treatment that you feel was not administered properly or take doctor's advice that did more harm than good? Not every situation in which treatment is ineffective or you suffer side effects qualifies as malpractice, but if you and your lawyer can prove that your doctor acted negligently and that the negligence led to damaging injuries, then you have a reasonable claim. Here's a look at four characteristics of medical malpractice claims.

1. Your doctor must have failed to provide the care that would be expected considering the circumstances.

Medical malpractice cases are a type of personal injury case. As in all personal injury cases, in order to make a claim, you must prove that the person you are making the claim against acted negligently. This means that they failed to exercise the care that a reasonable, prudent person would exercise in a given situation. In the case of medical malpractice, a doctor is considered negligent if he or she fails to administer the treatment that protocol would call for based on your medical situation.

For example, consider if you were to present to the hospital with pus draining from a large wound. This is a sign of infection, and the standard of care would be something along the lines of draining the wound and treating you with an antibiotic. If the doctor ignored the fact that you were draining pus and sent you home with just a bandage, and you developed a severe fever and had to be hospitalized as a result, this could be considered negligence. The doctor failed to give you the care that would be expected considering your circumstances.

2. The negligence must have led to an injury or damage.

If the doctor acted with negligence but you suffered no ill consequences, you don't have a medical malpractice claim. For instance, returning to the example above, if you returned home with the infected wound and it healed on its own, you would not have a valid claim. Proving that negligence led to an injury can be tough, which is why it's important to keep all records of treatment, receipts, and pictures of injuries if you feel you may be the victim of medical malpractice. These can be used in court as evidence that you were, in fact, injured by the doctor's negligent acts.

3. The injury must have damaging consequences.

An injury that you feel resulted from negligence but that resolved quickly and had little impact on your life is not going to make for a strong claim. On the other hand, an injury that affected your ability to work, caused you great pain and distress, caused you to spend more time in the hospital, or left you permanently disabled will make for a strong claim.

For example, if your doctor fails to treat an infected wound with antibiotic and the only consequence is that your hand swells up a little and you have a tough time writing for 2 days, your lawyer is going to have a hard time arguing that medical malpractice was committed. However, if the infection spreads through your hand, causing substantial tissue death and the need to amputate your thumb, that makes for a good claim.

4. Even if a procedure was performed properly, it qualifies as malpractice if you did not give consent.

If you do not give consent to a procedure and it ends up causing you harm, you have a good medical malpractice case. This is true even if the procedure was executed flawlessly and according to plan. Gaining consent is considered an essential part of patient treatment, and failing to gain consent qualifies as negligence. Thus, any damaging injury that results from a procedure that is performed without consent is grounds for a medical malpractice case.

For example, imagine your doctor performs a surgery on you without your consent. The surgery is performed flawlessly, but you suffer a side effect of the anesthesia that leads to frequent seizures. This could qualify as medical malpractice. On the other hand, if the same surgery had been performed with your consent and you suffered the seizures, you would not have a malpractice case. (Again, assuming the surgery was performed correctly.)

Determining what is and is not medical malpractice is complicated. If you have even the slightest inkling that what happened to you may meet the criteria above, talk to a medical malpractice lawyer. They can examine your unique circumstances and let you know whether you have a medical negligence case.



11 March 2016

Car Accident Clues

It can be hard to know what to do to protect yourself legally in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. You’re liable to be disoriented or in shock, you may be injured, and you’re surely worried about your passenger or the other driver. At least, that’s how I felt. The thing is, the things you say and do in the immediate aftermath of an accident may affect a legal case later. Depending on who’s at fault and what the laws are in your state, you may want to sue the other driver for damages, or you may find yourself being sued. My blog is designed to give you tips for a car accident lawsuit, no matter which side you find yourself on.