Understanding Medical Malpractice

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice: Not Quite Like Grey’s Anatomy

Medical dramas, while exciting, can make medical malpractice seem like a commonplace occurrence. Thankfully, scalpels and sponges aren’t being left in patients during every surgery.

Most doctors are intelligent, client-focused professionals who work with their patients to achieve the best possible outcomes. Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made that can harm the patient. Does that mean the patient has a medical malpractice case on their hands?

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is an umbrella term under personal injury law that encompasses surgical malpractice and other specialties. Medical malpractice lawsuits are tried by a personal injury lawyer in civil court with the aim of securing a financial award to cover the harm done by a medical practitioner’s negligence.

Surgical malpractice accounts for approximately 34% of all medical malpractice cases. This is where the horror stories generally reside, though there are other causes of surgical malpractice. You should speak with a surgical malpractice lawyer if your surgery has caused you harm due to the negligence of anyone on the surgical team.

Common mistakes include, but are not limited to, operating on the wrong body part, leaving behind an instrument, unnecessary surgical procedures, damage to other organs during surgery, or complications such as infections that arise after surgery due to the surgical team’s improper handling.

Can I File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

If you’ve been harmed by a medical professional and are considering your legal options it is important to understand the components of the case a judge or jury considers.

For a surgical mishap or wrongful diagnosis case to be eligible for trial, you must be able to show that a medical professional acted negligently by deviating from the standard of care, thus causing you harm. A Tampa personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine whether your case qualifies for trial.

Was Your Doctor or Surgical Team Negligent?

When you think of the term “negligent”, images of forgotten tasks or projects not completed well may come to mind. In terms of medical malpractice, negligence refers to whether a doctor acted with the “ordinary prudence” that other doctors in the same situation would have used.

For example, if a doctor prescribed a surgery or remedy that is not typically done in certain circumstances, and other doctors, when placed in that same situation, would not prescribe that surgery or remedy, it can be said that the doctor did not practice ordinary prudence or follow the accepted standard of care.

Let’s say that a doctor decides to implant a pacemaker in a patient who has a history of high blood pressure and the pacemaker or the surgery itself leads to complications that harm the patient. The doctor’s peers agree that the surgery was not necessary and, according to the standard of care, the high blood pressure should’ve been controlled with medication, diet, and exercise. The doctor has been negligent and has not exercised reasonable care.

Doctors can also be seen as negligent through omission—meaning they didn’t act or disclose particular information. But is this negligence enough to warrant a search for the best Tampa personal injury lawyers?

Not quite.

Did a Doctor’s Negligence Cause You Harm?

A doctor’s poor decision-making skills aren’t enough to qualify him as negligent. Part of legal negligence deals with causality and harm. In order for a doctor’s poor decision to be considered legally negligent, the doctor’s poor choice must cause some type of measurable harm. And not just an extra day out of work, either.

Harm, in the legal sense, is generally recognized as substantial medical bills, missed work, and ongoing medical problems. Basically, a medical professional’s negligence must lead to specific, measurable harm that can somehow be compensated for monetarily.

This is a bit of a simplistic view of medical malpractice. If you’ve ever tried to sort through documents written in legalese, you know that the law has a unique way of making what seem like simple topics more complex. To truly understand whether your medical malpractice case is viable, speaking with a Tampa personal injury lawyer will help you get a clearer sense of the civil court system and personal injury law. This checklist for meeting with a personal injury lawyer can help you get on your way to finding justice.