Malpractice Medical Malpractice Overview

In this article we're going to do an overview of medical malpractice, what it is and what are the main causes of medical practice.Medical malpractice, technically and legally defined as "a specific legal term related to lawsuits alleging various different circumstances leading to damage to a patient." To put that into English, medical malpractice is anything where a patient receives poor care from a physician leading to the patient developing problems because of this care.These malpractice suits, stemming from this improper care, include misdiagnosis, mistreatment and any type of negligence. Not all errors are considered malpractice because there is always a certain amount of risk involved in medicine, especially when dealing with a patient who has serious medical problems to begin with.

That is why malpractice suits have to be settled in a court of law because it is not so cut and dried.The most common diseases that are usually involved in malpractice suits are breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, heart attack and appendicitis. The main cause of these malpractice suits is usually misdiagnosis either because the diagnosis was delayed for some reason, such as the equipment required wasn't available or a wrong diagnosis was made. Delays in diagnostic testing too often lead to a patient's death. The severity of these delays explains why the monetary awards, when given, are so large.

In winning a malpractice suit there are several factors involved. The first is that the claim itself must be made before the statute of limitations expires. If a patient or the patient's family (assuming the patient has died) brings up the suit after too much time has passed then the case never even makes it to trial. So speed is probably the most important element in winning a malpractice suit. The actual statute of limitations varies depending on the type of lawsuit and where the lawsuit takes place. Each state and country has its own rules.

The next thing is that malpractice has to be proven. It must be proven that the error, if an error occurred, was not an error that could have been reasonably avoided. If something unforeseen happens that could not have been accounted for then the likelihood of proving malpractice is slim. For example, many surgeries and procedures have risks associated with them and therefore if something were to go wrong malpractice would be difficult to prove as long as the patient received what is called "accepted standard of care.".The problem with many malpractice suits is that in too many cases the patient delayed seeing a doctor about a symptom.

Usually they disregard it as just life's everyday aches and pains. Finally the pain gets bad enough that the patient goes to see a doctor and by that time it is either too late to successfully treat the problem or the treatment itself needs to be more severe than it would have been had the patient seen the doctor right away. This of course leads to a greater risk that the treatment will not be successful.

When it's not, the patient or patient's family then sues for malpractice.Maybe if both sides were a little more diligent medical malpractice suits wouldn't be so common.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Malpractice

By: Michael Russell

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