Records reveal that deaths due to medical malpractice are estimated to reach around 80,000 each year. Meanwhile, injuries sustained because of this are even thousands more. It is saddening to note, however, that only about two percent of this number seek medical malpractice personal injury claims.
This being the case, many more medical malpractice victims should have taken action. Getting compensation for damages caused by the malpractice need not only be the main objective in launching a lawsuit. By airing out complaints about malpractice, however small the injuries it caused would prevent future wrongdoing and negligence of healthcare professionals.
Still, one has to have the proper perspective regarding malpractice, since not all cases of unpleasant medical results are caused by negligence or wrongdoing.
Here are ways on determining medical malpractice.
Be aware of the standard of care expected in the particular community. Any medical treatment by a healthcare provider that is below the standard of care is medical malpractice and causes harm to the patient.
Negligent conduct and the failure to take necessary action in certain cases also constitute malpractice.
In legally establishing a case of medical malpractice, three elements need to be present:
1. The victim and the healthcare provider must have a professional relationship. Remember that casual contact to a healthcare provider outside a hospital or clinic cannot be considered as a professional relationship. Similarly, singling out a healthcare professional’s name out of the yellow pages and calling to inquire about something is not considered as a professional relationship.
2. The healthcare provider has given medical treatment below the standard of care that similar healthcare providers in the particular community would have given. This element may or may not be difficult to establish, depending on a case basis. There are clear-cut cases of substandard care, like forgetting to remove medical materials inside a patient after surgery.
However, misdiagnosis is hard to determine as an example of substandard care. Rare health conditions may be overlooked or misdiagnosed but cannot be considered as malpractice. Getting the second opinion of another healthcare provider is needed to determine a breach of the duty of care.
3. The substandard care has caused more harm than good to the patient. As much like determining the occurrence of substandard care, an expert medical opinion is needed to determine this. In some cases, there is little or even no doubt about the negative outcome. There are cases, though, that negative outcome would have happened even with substandard care.
Establishing the extent of harm caused by the below-standard level of care is also a significant factor and would carry a certain impact in malpractice cases.
Being a victim of medical malpractice not only cause grievous harm but also great financial burden and loss of income. Acting on it by launching a case of medical malpractice is a significant step in avoiding future mishaps.
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