Medical accidents happen, but when does it qualify as medical malpractice? To qualify, there are certain specifications that must be met. It is considered medical malpractice when a hospital, doctor, or other health care professional causes injury to a patient through negligence, a negligent act, or omission. This can span from an error in diagnosis to treatment and even aftercare or health management.
Medical malpractice must be a violation of a standard of care, including negligence, and result in significant damage. If a doctor of similar experience under similar circumstance would have taken reasonable action where the physician or health care professional did not, there may be a case. There must also be an established relationship between the doctor and the patient. If the patient has seen a doctor even once for the condition in question, a relationship has been established.
To prove negligence, it must be shown that a prudent and similarly skilled doctor with the same level of education would have given better care in the same circumstances. The law recognizes that doctors cannot be perfect and make mistakes but holds doctors’ errors to a medical standard of care. Most often, negligence includes failing to diagnose a condition, not properly advising a patient of foreseeable risks for treatment, and unacceptable errors in surgery or another procedure.
While a doctor’s actions being deemed reckless is not common, it can happen. For instance, if a surgery is completed while the doctor is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they were being reckless. This is a more extreme form of negligence where the doctor’s actions are so unacceptable that the patient is placed in a serious risk of injury or harm at the doctor’s hand.
When It Is Not Malpractice
A doctor cannot be held liable for a patient’s condition worsening during treatment, especially if the patient was told what the risks and possibility of recovery is. There are conditions that are not treatable and no guarantee as to how a patient will respond to treatment. A doctor is also not liable if a condition is untreatable. If there are no options and all possible care is taken, the law is not slated to help recover finances to remedy an unfortunate health prognosis.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of a health care professional, you need legal representation from a team with the experience to find you justice. Contact our team of attorneys at Bochetto & Lentz today to have your rights protected.