Medical Malpractice: What It Is and How to Protect Yourself

Medical malpractice is a legal term used to describe when a healthcare professional deviates from the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm to a patient. Medical malpractice can take many forms, including:

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to provide appropriate treatment
  • Surgical errors
  • Medication errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Failure to interpret diagnostic tests correctly

Medical malpractice can have serious consequences for patients, including physical injury, disability, and even death. In some cases, medical malpractice can also lead to financial hardship, as patients may have to pay for medical expenses and lost wages as a result of their injuries.

How to prove medical malpractice

To prove medical malpractice, a patient must demonstrate the following four elements:

  1. Duty of care: The healthcare professional must have owed the patient a duty of care. This means that the healthcare professional must have had a professional relationship with the patient and must have agreed to provide care to the patient.
  2. Breach of duty: The healthcare professional must have breached their duty of care by deviating from the accepted standard of care. The accepted standard of care is what a reasonably competent healthcare professional would have done in the same situation.
  3. Causation: The patient must show that the healthcare professional’s breach of duty caused their injury. This means that the patient must show that their injury would not have occurred if the healthcare professional had not breached their duty of care.
  4. Damages: The patient must have suffered damages as a result of the healthcare professional’s breach of duty. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability.

What to do if you think you have been a victim of medical malpractice

If you think you may have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is important to take the following steps:

  1. Keep a record of your medical care. This includes keeping copies of all medical records, including test results, doctor’s notes, and hospital records.
  2. Get a second opinion from another healthcare professional. This can help you to determine whether the healthcare professional who treated you deviated from the accepted standard of care.
  3. Contact an attorney. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you to assess your case and determine whether you have a viable claim.

If you are successful in your medical malpractice lawsuit, you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and disability. You may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish the healthcare professional for their wrongdoing.

Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients. By understanding your rights and taking the necessary steps to protect yourself, you can help to ensure that you receive the highest quality of care possible.

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