Multiple professions carry with them risks and dangers. This is even more prevalent with professions that deal with life. Medical malpractice laws have risen to the level that ensures you of your rights as a patient, protecting you from the poor quality of care that negligent health care professionals could have done.
As a result, it was reported that in 2012, over 3 billion dollars was spent as either settlement or punishment for medical malpractice. This became too common that at an average one payout is given every 43 minutes. In fact, medical negligence is the third leading cause of American deaths according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
You, as the patient, need to get informed to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. On the off chance that it does, you have the information you need at that moment. Here are some, if not the most important things you should know.
Definition of Medical Malpractice and Medical Negligence
Every healthcare professional has sworn some type of oath. This is generality to ensure that you’re provided a certain level of care deemed acceptable to the state and the nation. At the moment you’re in their care they’re legally liable if they don’t provide the level of care necessary to ensure your wellbeing.
Synonymously, medical malpractice is also used to refer to medical negligence. However, medical negligence is only one of the many factors that make up medical malpractice. In definition, medical negligence is the failure to act by healthcare professionals that aren’t in the standard of giving care to patients.
When negligence occurs in medical malpractice together with its other elements, a patient may be harmed. Some even die because of this. Thus, you may need to seek legal advice from reputable law firms, such as The Snapka Law Firm, when medical malpractice causes injury or death.
What Makes an Act or Omission of Medical Malpractice?
Going to a medical professional means trusting them to perform their job properly and efficiently. However, there are instances when one commits medical error resulting in harm or injury to the patient. When this happens, medical malpractice occurs.
For the act to be qualified as medical malpractice, these characteristics should occur:
- Violation of Standard Care: This means that healthcare providers may not have met the standard care that the law requires.
- Presence of Harm or Injury: As a result of the violation of standard care, the patient may sustain an injury or harm.
- Significant Damages: Since medical malpractice lawsuits are expensive, the damage should have resulted in the loss of income, disability, and other significant damages. That way, it’ll offset the expenses the patient will incur when pursuing the lawsuit.
Here are some medical malpractices you may encounter:
- Surgery Errors: This is when your surgeon commits a critical error while performing surgery on you. This includes not properly tending you before or after your surgery, unsafe procedures that cause harm or injury, wrong body parts operated, medical equipment inside your body, and more.
- Misdiagnosis: Instead of diagnosing you with the right condition, they diagnose you with other kind of disease.
- Hospital Infections: Although hospitals can contain many pathogens, the facility should still be clean and sanitized. However, there are cases when you may sustain hospital-associated infections such as fungal pathogens, viral, or bacterial infections.
Things You Should Do During A Medical Malpractice
As mentioned, medical malpractice occurs together with medical negligence. What to do if it happens?
- First, you should take into account if the quality of care wasn’t up to standard. This may be due to racial, economical, or even social aspects.
- Then, you must prove that there was harm because you were treated negligently.
- Furthermore, you must also show that due to the harm caused by the negligence, you experienced a considerable amount of damage. This may be emotional, physical, and sometimes mental.
However, you must also take into account the fact that negligence doesn’t equal injury. This simply means that if you had experienced medical negligence, if no harm came, you may not be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
This is the clear difference between medical negligence and medical malpractice.
Filing A Lawsuit Against the Hospital
As previously mentioned, medical negligence and medical malpractice don’t immediately equate to one another. You can experience medical negligence, but it doesn’t mean that it’s medical malpractice. On the other hand, when you experience medical malpractice, you’re a victim of medical negligence.
Hence, you can file a lawsuit when you can take into account all factors of medical malpractice. Meaning you must have harm and damages brought because of medical negligence. Or if all of the elements of medical malpractice occur, then that’s the time you can file a case or claim.
When you have everything checked and ensured it’s an actual medical malpractice case, you can begin your legal battle. Anyone who has wrongly experienced harm and damages because of medical negligence is legally entitled to compensation.
First and foremost, you must contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in cases of malpractice. This ensures that you have the best assistance with the case you’re filing against healthcare professionals. Especially considering you’ll have to face the hospital’s team of lawyers; you may be at a disadvantage. If you were to face them alone, you may not stand a chance, as the familiarity of the legal process becomes long and complicated. However, this is when and where your attorney will guide you through the steps in ensuring justice will prevail.
Medical malpractice is no joke. Lives have been uprooted and twisted because of the negligence of some health care professionals. Hopefully, this doesn’t deter you from going to the doctor. There are a lot of health care professionals that are providing the best care they could offer. This just shows how costly getting things wrong in a professional that deals with life can result in death. You may not want to hear this, but this may happen to you or your loved ones. Knowing the factors above will help you keep you and your family from such negligence.