What is medical malpractice?

Put simply, medical malpractice is negligence committed by medical professionals acting within the scope of their practice. In order for a medical professional to be liable for medical malpractice, there must have been:

(1) a duty owed to a patient by their doctor;

(2) a breach of that duty;

(3) resulting injury proximately caused by the breach of duty; and

(4) harm or damage sustained by the injury.

It is important to remember that an unanticipated, unsuccessful or unwanted result of a medical treatment does not by itself suggest medical malpractice has taken place.

The standard for medical malpractice revolves around the “reasonable” test of the law. In other words, in determining whether a doctor has committed malpractice, one must compare the doctor’s actions to how a “reasonably prudent doctor,” with the same specialized training and experience, would have acted. The distinction here is that one doctor’s actions are being compared to another comparable, “reasonable” doctor’s hypothetical actions. Yes, brain surgery is immensely complicated and difficult, but you are not comparing a brain surgeon’s actions to a layman’s; rather, you are considering how a reasonably prudent brain surgeon would have acted in similar circumstances when trying to figure out if malpractice has occurred.

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