Medical mistakes sometimes occur. No one likes to think that their healthcare providers are human, but errors are inevitable. Still, we hold doctors, nurses, and other medical providers to a high standard. When medical errors occur, it’s important to determine whether negligence or medical malpractice was responsible.
What Is Malpractice?
Medical negligence or malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider makes a mistake and fails to provide treatment called a “medical standard of care.” Both elements must be present for a case to be viable. A patient who gets worse under a doctor’s care may not have a malpractice claim. Sometimes, people don’t heal through no fault of the doctor. A patient with an untreatable condition, for example, usually doesn’t have a malpractice case. Doctors cannot cure every disease. Malpractice occurs when the medical provider does something (or doesn’t do something) that causes harm to the patient.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis can be malpractice. When a doctor doesn’t correctly diagnose a patient, it can be fatal if the patient doesn’t get treatment in time to help the problem. For example, a patient comes into the emergency department and is treated for heartburn. The patient later had a heart attack that was not diagnosed at the ER. If the doctor missed obvious symptoms of the heart problem, it could be negligence.
Medical negligence often occurs during childbirth and pregnancy. It’s not that the pregnancy or delivery doesn’t go as expected, rather, malpractice occurs when a doctor misses symptoms that cause the mother or baby to be in distress. Even in the 21st-century things can go wrong at a hospital.
Pharmaceutical errors are another common medical malpractice issue. Doctors sometimes prescribe the wrong medication or pharmacists fail to give the right medication or make a mistake in the dosage. Nurses can make mistakes when giving medication to a patient. There are many points along the chain where errors occur. Although many changes have been made to the system, medication errors still happen.
Surgical errors by surgeons or anesthesiologists are fairly common incidents as well. Surgeons leave a foreign body in the patient. Some surgeons have even performed surgery on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient, despite there being procedures in place to prevent those errors from happening.
Is Your Case Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice laws are complex. Often, there are multiple questions that must be answered beyond whether an error occurred. It takes an experienced lawyer to put together a case that will be successful. If you’ve been injured through a medical error, speak to a malpractice lawyer, like a medical malpractice lawyer in Charlottesville, VA, who can assess your situation.
Thanks to MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into the common mistakes that could be considered medical malpractice.