What Is Considered Medical Malpractice

Law Blog

Medical malpractice happens when a doctor or other medical professional fails to do his or her job correctly and endangers a patient's health. This can mean anything from a violation of standard healthcare to injury caused by negligence or injury resulting in pain, income loss, or disability. If a patient feels that he or she has been a victim of medical malpractice, they can file a lawsuit against the medical professional or medical facility. However, both patients and medical professionals should know what medical malpractice consists of.

1. Unnecessary Surgery

Unnecessary surgery usually means that a doctor or practitioner suggests that a patient needs surgery even if they do not. These surgeries can happen out of miscommunication, as a criminal act, or for a medical professional to get more money out of a patient's medical bills. Some of the most common unnecessary surgeries done on patients include angioplasties, pacemakers, knee and hip replacements, and back surgeries. Most of the time, these surgeries are completely preventable.

  • Ask Questions: If you feel like there should be no need for a surgery suggested by your medical practitioner, ask him or her why they think you need it. They should be able to answer your questions extensively instead of skirting around the subject. Additionally, you should get a second opinion from another doctor to confirm that this surgery is indeed needed.

2. Improper Medication

Issuing medication to a patient should be taken very seriously since it is what is going to make him or her better. If a medical practitioner gives a patient the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, it is considered medical malpractice. Giving a patient the wrong medicine or dosage amount can result in making the patient sicker. All dosage and medication prescriptions should be written out clearly and should be explained why it is being given to the patient.

  • Miscommunication: Even if the medication or dosage is an accident, it can still be considered a medical malpractice. There should be constant communication between the doctor, nurse and patient to avoid any such situations. If you as a patient feel like the medication is not making you feel better, you should contact your medical practitioner immediately.

3. Misdiagnosis

One of the more common medical malpractices is misdiagnosis from a doctor. If a doctor diagnoses a patient's symptoms wrong, it could put them in danger for their health. For example, a doctor might diagnose his patient with one thing and start him or her on a medication regimen, which might end up making the patient sicker or even die. Without a proper diagnosis, a patient could be missing a small window to catch a disease or infection that could end up killing them if not treated right away.

  • Second Guess: Not all diagnoses are going to make sense to a patient, but if it seems unusual to you it should be confirmed by another doctor. If you get the same diagnosis, compare the medication or steps that your primary physician suggested to make sure everyone is on the same page. It is much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

4. Childbirth Injuries

Medical malpractice can happen to both mother and child in childbirth injuries. A medical professional should be able to diagnose any health conditions a mother might have while she is pregnant, as well as keeping her up-to-date about the health of her unborn child. If a doctor or obstetrician cannot properly identify birth defects, medical conditions, or diseases before the child is born that is considered medical malpractice. It can endanger the life of the child and the mother.

  • During and After Childbirth: A medical practitioner should also be able to know how to properly help a woman give childbirth, including the tools and medication needed. If the doctor fails to use the right tools or does not respond immediately to distress from the mother or the child, he or she will end up endangering both lives. Any incompetency can result in defects that were not an issue before childbirth.

5. Disregarding Patient History

Patient history should be taken very seriously by any medical professional. This is what lets the doctors and nurses know what the patient needs and what could make him or her sicker if not avoided. If a doctor disregards or misreads a patient's history, it will result in a medical malpractice lawsuit. It is important for the doctor to ask questions about a patient's medical history if there is any confusion or if the patient is seeing a new doctor.

  • The Fine Print: There may also be notes on a patient's history regarding the signing of consent forms, personal preferences in the case of emergencies, or allergies. The medical professional should relay all information back to the patient for clarification and make sure the nurses understand the patient's history, as well. If there are any questions regarding details, they should be brought up during the first checkup.

All of these instances of medical malpractice can be avoided if medical professionals are knowledgeable and take their time when doing their jobs. If a doctor or other medical practitioner does not think they can do their job correctly, they should not be in that profession. Not only will they be incompetent in their job, but they can also harm the lives of others. If a medical professional is being sued for medical malpractice, he or she must contact a lawyer for help.

To learn more, contact a law firm like Flett Manning Moore


10 June 2015