Medical Malpractice from Different Angles
Medical malpractice, or “med-mal,” as it is often referred to within legal offices around the country, refers to an instance or series of instances in which a medical practitioner has engaged in malpractice—illegal, irresponsible and/or negligent activity. Many professionals are held to certain standards of care and, when they fail to meet such standards, and their actions lead to other people experiencing damages, those professionals can be held accountable.
Medical malpractice is a highly contentious issue between lawyers and doctors, patients and hospitals, and even between politicians. In the overarching and polarizing theme of Tort Reform, which many conservative politicians support, medical malpractice is a prime issue—movements to secure the limitation of damages in medical malpractice cases have popped up around the country and some have even led to the enactment of law. In this blog, we’re going to look at medical malpractice from a few different angles and with a few different examples to try and give a holistic view of the highly intricate and divisive issue.
First of all, we understand that the aforementioned definition of “medical malpractice” is a bit vague; the law, through regulations, statutes and precedents, does its best to clear it up. There is, of course, a common understanding that must be understood before medical malpractice can be discussed: you can’t successfully claim medical malpractice just because something doesn’t go your way. Medicine is a practice based on science, not a certainty. For example, there are many risky surgeries that doctors perform—and that patients undergo—that have a substantial risk of failure. Patients are made aware of the likelihood of success before the procedure and oftentimes choose to undergo the procedure anyway. Say, for example, a patient elects to have very risky eye surgery and, as expected, the surgery leaves the damaged area more damaged. That is not necessary an example of medical malpractice. In other words, patients incur many damages and many of those damages are not the result of medical malpractice. In order for it to be medical malpractice, the doctor must have acted illegally, irresponsibly or otherwise negligently.
Now, what are some examples of medical malpractice?
Perhaps the most common types of medical malpractice are surgical errors—not errors that are common and expected, but errors that are the result of a doctor failing to meet the basic standard of care that is expected from them. For example, say a doctor leaves a surgical tool inside the patient before sewing them up—this would be an example of med-mal (and this actually happens more than you’d think).
Another common example of med-mal is a failure to diagnose. Let’s say a patient is complaining of ailments to a doctor, the doctor runs test, and sees data that should alert the doctor of a disease within the patient’s body. If the doctor fails to diagnose the easily diagnosable disease, and the patient suffers because of the delayed diagnosis, that is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Simply being unaware of the disease within the patient would not be med-mal, but simply overlooking important pieces of data which clearly demonstrate the presence of a disease is an example of medical malpractice. Other forms in which med-mal might come include birth injuries, medication errors, anesthesia errors, hospital negligence and, last but not least, wrongful death at the hands of a doctor.
Medical malpractice cases are complicated. The most important thing that you can do if you think you’ve been the medical malpractice is contact an able attorney—one who has dealt with medical malpractice cases of all kinds.
Thus, if you or anyone you know has any related questions, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg for a free consultation by calling 561-266-9191 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.