When should I suspect that medical malpractice might have occurred?
- March 29, 2017
Medical malpractice can result in many ways and across many healthcare settings. It’s crucial to recognize that not every medical condition in which something goes awry, such as when the patient’s health declines or worsens, is a viable medical practice case. In this article, we discuss several treatment scenarios in which you might suspect medical malpractice might have occurred and several that aren’t.
Medical Malpractice and Negligence
Negligence is said to occur when a physician delivers sub-standard care to his or her patient. If the doctor fails to offer the level or type of care that a similarly-educated, skilled, and prudent doctor would offer in a similar situation, he or she may be considered negligent.
A doctor’s negligence that reaches the level of medical malpractice may occur in a variety of situations, such as failure to diagnose the patient’s harmful condition, failure to provide advice to the patient concerning the potentially serious risks of specific treatments, and unacceptable or avoidable errors he or she makes in performing procedures or surgery.
Physicians are human and no doctor is perfect. Medical malpractice law doesn’t require the doctor to be perfect. Doctors make mistakes. However, if the physician’s mistake falls beneath the medical standard of care, his or her errors may arise to the level of medical malpractice.
Many malpractice cases rely on the answers to the following types of questions:
• What was the standard of care in the patient’s situation?
• Did the physician deviate from the medical standard of care or did he or she adhere to it?
Both the plaintiff and defendant will consult medical experts to support their respective case arguments.
Medical Malpractice and Recklessness
Recklessness, or reckless behavior. is rare in medicine. However, in some cases, the physician’s action or his or her failure to act may be deemed reckless. For instance, a physician who operates or performs a risky procedure while he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs might be determined to have acted in a reckless manner.
If the physician administers potentially harmful levels of medicine to the patient and in contravention or access of currently accepted medical practice, he or she may be said to act recklessly. Within context, reckless behavior is likely to be considered as an extreme type of negligence. The physician’s actions or inactions are less than the accepted norms in medicine that his or her patient is at risk of significant danger or harm.
When the Doctor Shouldn’t Be Suspected of Medical Malpractice
The patient’s doctor can’t be said to commit malpractice if the patient’s health condition worsens during his or her treatment court. The physician may not have the tools to treat or cure the patient and, if the condition is usually considered a treatable condition, the doctor can’t guarantee that the patient will be cured by the treatment.
If the doctor used reasonable skill and care to select and carry out the patient’s treatment course, the patient can’t successfully accuse the physician of medical malpractice. The worsening of his or her condition won’t support the patient’s medical malpractice claim.
If the patient’s health issues or illness isn’t considered treatable, the physician who properly diagnoses the patient’s health condition and then uses sound decision-making to determine the patient’s care process and options didn’t commit medical malpractice. The patient’s untreatable or terminal condition won’t support a claim that medical malpractice has occurred.
Medical malpractice law doesn’t provide remedies for unavoidable, unfortunate outcomes such as chronic illness or death in the above scenario. Medical malpractice law protects the patient in the event the physician offers less than the accepted standard of medical care.
Medical Malpractice Challenges
In most instances, medical malpractice claims are challenging cases. What seems like a simple matter of cause and effect may be more complex. Most patients who are considering a medical malpractice claim have unanswered questions about whether the doctor or hospital committed what the law might consider malpractice.
Your potential medical malpractice case may turn on the answers to one or more complex questions. The ability to answer these questions usually requires a medical degree plus years of practice experience. If you have questions about a potential medical malpractice case in the greater Los Angeles area, contact us now at 888-543-5414 for a free consultation.