Medical negligence is an act or failure to act by a healthcare provider that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care, thereby causing injury to the patient. Medical practitioners have a legal duty to their patients, to offer care that aligns with the “accepted standard” of medical care. Simply put, the healthcare provider should provide a kind of care that a reasonably skilled and competent physician with the same background in the same medical community would have offered under similar circumstances that resulted in the alleged malpractice.
Medical negligence happens when the medical practitioner – whether it’s a dentist, doctor, surgeon, nurse among others – does their job in a manner that doesn’t align with this accepted medical standard of care.
How Negligence becomes medical malpractice
Negligence becomes malpractice when the practitioner’s negligent care leads to undue injury to the patient – results in unexpected and unreasonable complications makes the condition of the patient worse or causes the need for additional medical treatment. The two extra elements – damages and legal causation are required before the negligence becomes a viable medical malpractice claim. But if the negligence did not cause harm to the patient, or if it did not have a detrimental effect on the patient’s condition, then the neglect will not give rise to medical malpractice.
Legal options for medical malpractice
Patients who suffer from medical malpractice have the legal right to pursue compensation for their injuries (whether physical or psychological). Working with a Miami medical malpractice attorney is a great way for patients to ensure they get the most out of the process. Medical negligence and malpractice cases are complicated and involving, and since the patient has the burden of proof, it can be difficult for them to navigate on their own – and that’s where these lawyers come in handy.
Common types of medical malpractice
If a medical practitioner commits one of the acts below while the patient was under their care, then the patient could be eligible for legal options:
- Wrong diagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition
- Disregard or misread significant lab results
- Performed an unnecessary surgery
- Conducted surgery on a wrong site, or made a surgical error
- Issues incorrect dosage or medication
- Gave poor follow-up care
- Premature discharge
Proving medical negligence and malpractice
A patient will need to prove negligence in court before they can receive compensation for their injuries. To do this, they will have to determine that the four elements of negligence were present. This includes:
Duty: That the doctor had the duty of care; a duty that requires them to act as any reasonable physician would in the same situation.
Breach: That the doctor breached their duty of exercising reasonable care and treat the patient the same way any other doctor would.
Injury: That as a result of the breach, the patient sustained an injury – and this could be anything from an infection from unsterilized tools to emotional trauma and so on.
Damages: That the patient suffered economic or non-economic damages from the injury
For the doctor to be found negligent, the medical malpractice lawyer must show that his or her conduct fell below the medical standard of care.