Medical negligence occurs when a patient is harmed due to the negligence of a healthcare provider or a member of a healthcare providing institute. About two hundred thousand people lose their loved ones due to medical malpractice every year. According to research, medical malpractice has become the third leading cause of death in America.
Medical malpractice begins with a medical error like a wrong diagnosis, the wrong amount of medicine dosage or aftercare, etc. Fortunately, medical negligence laws allow victims to get compensation for any harm due to a healthcare provider’s negligence by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. About 15,000 to 19,000 doctors are sued for medical malpractice every year in the USA.
Criteria for Medical malpractice case
Healthcare providers are not responsible for all the harm that the victim experiences. There are certain factors for a case to be considered an act of medical negligence.
Some of these factors are described below:
Any sort of injury due to negligence.
A victim can’t claim medical malpractice if he/she isn’t injured by a healthcare provider’s negligence. A victim must prove that he/she would not have been harmed if not for the healthcare provider’s negligence.
Injury has to be serious
The victim can’t file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the injury caused to malpractice was not very serious. A suit can only be filed if the harm caused to malpractice was serious. Following are some examples of serious harm:
- Physical disability
- Severe and constant pain
- Loss of income
Failing to give appropriate care
The law has set certain standards that a healthcare provider must follow. If any healthcare provider or a hospital fails to hold fast these standards, then they may have to face a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical malpractice criteria in US law
Following criteria have been defined in the law for a case to be considered medical negligence:
“The injured patient must show that the physician acted negligently in rendering care, and that such negligence resulted in injury. To do so, four legal elements must be proven:
(1) a professional duty owed to the patient;
(2) breach of such duty;
(3) injury caused by the breach;
and (4) resulting damages
Money damages, if awarded, typically take into account both actual economic loss and noneconomic loss, such as pain and suffering.”
Major types of malpractice
There are many kinds of errors that can result a healthcare provider facing medical malpractice lawsuit. Some of those errors are below:
- Wrong diagnosis
- Error in surgery or unnecessary surgery
- Discharge before complete healing
- Not ordering necessary tests and scans
- Wrong dosage of the medicine
- Prescribing wrong medicine
- Patient experiencing continuous pain after a surgery
- Any sort of infection that the patient got from the hospital.
There were some cases in the past where patients attempted suicide undercar of hospital staff which resulted in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Some major causes of malpractice
BMJ published findings in 2013, which showed that the main cause of malpractice was delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. A team of experts from the University of Illinois reported that 7 percent of medical errors occur due to blood thinners.
Blood thinners are given to patients who have clots in their blood. It stops clots from blocking the veins and arteries and hence saves patients from a heart attack. But if too much blood thinner enters in a human’s bloodstream, they end up bleeding.
Scientists from Johns Hopkins researched in 2016, and on the base of that research, they suggested that medical malpractice should be declared as the third leading cause of death in the US.
Parties in a medical malpractice case
There are two parties in every medical malpractice lawsuit.
The defendant is the party that is being accused committing medical malpractice. A defendant can be a doctor, nurse or any type of healthcare provider.
This is the party that files the lawsuit and accuses the defendant of being guilty. Plaintiff can be the victim himself, a person on behalf of victim or a legally appointed person.
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