When a patient suffers an injury due to a doctor or other medical professional committing a negligent act or omission, this is considered medical malpractice. Errors in diagnosis, treatment or after care are among the potential causes of medical malpractice but not in every case. While there are many different ways that medical malpractice can occur during the course of care for a patient, not everything that goes wrong is necessarily the result of negligence. Below are some treatment scenarios that may be perceived by some as malpractice but that really are not.
Worsening of the Patient’s Condition
Just because a patient’s condition worsens as they are receiving treatment, it does not automatically mean that the doctor committed medical malpractice. In many cases, a doctor will simply not be able to treat a patient’s illness. This may be so even if the condition is widely considered to be a treatable one. The reason is that patients respond to treatments in different ways. As long as a doctor uses reasonable care and skill in the performance of their duties, they cannot be accused of medical malpractice. This is true even when the patient’s condition gets worse.
A Condition That Cannot be Treated
Unfortunately, not all conditions can be treated. This means that as long as the doctor makes a correct diagnosis and makes the correct decisions regarding treatment, they cannot be said to have committed medical malpractice. Medical malpractice laws are not designed to deal with cases where the patient’s condition cannot be treated. These laws have been put in place to provide recourse for patients who have received care that falls below an acceptable standard.
An Error by the Doctor
A mistake on the part of the doctor is not enough for a medical malpractice claim. Before the patient can file suit, they will have to show causation; in other words, that the doctor’s mistake caused the harm. Examples of harm include amputating the wrong limb or an operation that results in brain damage to the patient. Death or a medical condition that worsened as a result of a surgery are also good examples of harm. In addition, the patient will also have to prove that the injury was the result of the doctor’s negligence. Just being injured by itself is not sufficient to be deemed medical malpractice. This is the most challenging part of a medical malpractice case as it will be necessary to have an expert witness testify on how the error caused the harm. Most expert witnesses are doctors or healthcare professionals.
A doctor who misdiagnoses a condition is not necessarily negligent. Even the most competent doctors can come to the wrong conclusion. They may do this even while they are fully adhering to the standard of care. Such cases do not meet the requirements to be considered negligence.
It is important to remember that just because the results of a course of treatment are unsatisfactory, this does not mean that the patient has a malpractice case. Rather, it will be necessary for them to prove that the doctor’s negligence was what caused their injury. If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to contact an experienced malpractice attorney immediately. Factors that could affect the outcome of your case include the statute of limitations, which governs the window of time in which you are allowed to sue.