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What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice?

Jeff Martin April 15, 2022

Doctors are some of the people we trust most. Ideally, they're who we see when we’re at our most vulnerable, the people who help us when we're ill and in need of care.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and whether intentionally or not, medical negligence and hospital negligence do occur. When negligence happens, a medical malpractice lawyer can look after your best interests and get you compensation for the damages caused by those who were supposed to protect you.

What is Medical Negligence?

"Medical malpractice," a.k.a. "medical negligence" is defined in the following way: “Any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes injury to the patient.”

In order for medical negligence and hospital negligence claims to be successful, one has to prove that the following "4 Ds" existed:

  • Duty. This describes the care owed to patients by healthcare professionals and providers

  • Dereliction. The failure of the doctors and hospitals to perform that duty with a patient

  • Damages. The losses suffered by the patient, both monetarily and not, because of the dereliction of duty

  • Direct Cause. Establishing that the healthcare provider directly caused the damages the patient suffered

What are the Types of Medical Negligence?

The most common kinds of claims and lawsuits in medical negligence cases are:

1. Misdiagnosis Lawsuit

In a misdiagnosis lawsuit, the patient and their medical malpractice lawyer must prove that the doctor was negligent in diagnosing an illness that resulted in harm or injury to the patient.

This is often hardest one of the hardest types of malpractice to prove because even the most competent healthcare providers can make mistakes. Human error will always exist. That said, it is possible to prove if the accuser can prove that a doctor of similar capabilities would not have made the same misdiagnosis in the same situation.

As an example, the most common misdiagnosed conditions are heart attacks and cancer. If the patient can prove that their doctor misread lab results and failed to order testing that could have resulted in a correct diagnosis, they would have the necessary information to win the suit.

2. Birth Injury Lawsuit

Of all the medical negligence lawsuits nationwide, birth injury lawsuits are the most common. Birth injury lawsuits can include injuries sustained by the mother, baby, or both.

Roughly seven out of every 1,000 babies born will suffer from birth injuries. The most common injuries are shoulder dystocia, nerve damage, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and cephalohematoma. Medical negligence that occurs during the birth of a baby can be the result of a lack of communication among the medical team, a disregard for the wishes of the mother during birth, minimization of symptoms or concerns the mother experiences, or a doctor's choice to wait too long to perform an emergency c-section.

3. Failure to Treat Lawsuit

Lawsuits that involve a failure to treat come up when a doctor correctly diagnoses an illness or disease but doesn’t treat the patient in accordance with the acceptable standard of care. Examples of this could be discharging a patient too early or not ordering and performing follow-up care.

4. Surgical Errors Lawsuit

In a surgical error lawsuit, medical negligence is usually attributed to the surgical team, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other hospital staff. It occurs when an avoidable mistake occurs during surgery and results in death or further injury or complications.

5. Prescription Drug Error Lawsuit

A prescription drug error lawsuit involves an error made by the doctor prescribing medication or the hospital/pharmacy in filling the medication. This can be incorrect dosage, administration of medication, prescription of something the patient is known to be allergic to, or a prescription of something known to create a complication when mixed with other prescriptions the patient is currently on.

When Should Someone Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Sometimes, doctors and hospitals make mistakes that don’t cause an injury to their patients, and in those cases, filing a lawsuit isn't necessary. However, if you’ve experienced medical negligence or hospital negligence that has resulted in personal injuries, emotional losses, and financial losses, reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer to see if you have a case. Any of the above-listed preventable injuries are a result of the action or inaction of your doctor and are sufficient cause to file a medical malpractice suit.

If you've suffered injuries due to medical negligencecontact us today. We're ready to help.