Medicine is one of the most trusted, respected professions in the world. Usually, that trust and respect is well-earned. However, there are times when our doctors and other medical workers don’t live up to our expectations, and don’t adhere to the high standards set by the rest of the Florida medical community. When a doctor is negligent during a medical procedure, or while a patient is under their care, patients can suffer serious injury, resulting in permanent disability, or in the worst cases, death.
If you or a loved one were injured during surgery or a procedure, it’s easy to wonder if someone made a careless mistake, or committed medical malpractice. Some malpractice cases are pretty straightforward. Others, though, can be complex and difficult to unravel. It’s important to understand that not all mistakes in health care settings are medical negligence. Understanding what malpractice means is a good place to begin.
What is considered medical malpractice?
None of us expect to visit our doctor and leave in worse shape than we came. Sadly, this does happen to some people. Malpractice can take many forms. Usually when you think of malpractice, what typically comes to mind are medical mistakes like hospital errors—a doctor nicking an organ or maybe even leaving an instrument behind in the body. However, there are other, more common, types of medical malpractice:
- Failure to diagnose
- Medication errors
- Hospital negligence
- Failing to monitor patients for problems
- Failure to warn a patient of known risks of a procedure or treatment
- Failure to perform or waiting too long to perform a necessary procedure
How is medical malpractice different from personal injury?
Medical malpractice cases are incredibly complex because they involve expert knowledge of both the law and medicine. It may not be enough to support a successful claim just because a procedure went poorly, or the patient suffered negative consequences from treatment for a condition or injury.
In order to prove medical malpractice, you must also be able to prove four key points:
- A patient/doctor relationship: A patient/doctor relationship shows that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care. This means that the doctor must always act in the best interests of the patient, and not act—or fail to act—in a way that results in harm.
- Proof of negligence: Evidence of negligent behavior is crucial to a malpractice claim. To prove negligence, you must be able to show that a competent doctor acting under the same circumstances would not have caused harm and would have acted under the appropriate medical standards of care.
- A causal link between negligence and injury: It may be true that the doctor made a mistake, but for malpractice, there must be a direct link between that mistake and your injury. Typically a medical expert will testify on your behalf.
- Proof of harm and damages: You must also have quantifiable and measurable proof of your harm and damages. These can include medical bills, therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Injuries from medical malpractice can have lifelong impact. Victims of medical negligence may become disabled and unable to work or return to their “normal” life. The malpractice attorneys at Yeboah Law Group will help you heal and hold the right people accountable for their actions. Call our Fort Lauderdale lawyers today at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation.