There are a lot of misconceptions about medical malpractice, and a lot of people throw around statistics that may or may not be true. For instance, you may have heard it said that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, but this is almost certainly not true.
Behind the scary headlines
To understand the real story of medical errors and medical malpractice, we must first define our terms. Medical errors can include wrong dosages, wrong prescriptions and treatment delays. Medical providers can also misdiagnose patients, which can lead to all of these errors. Patients can also be injured by surgical errors and other accidents and omissions. Many Americans are injured every year due to errors and accidents in health care.
Medical malpractice itself is primarily a legal term. It refers to a branch of personal injury law in which an injured patient seeks to hold doctors or other medical care providers liable for the damages they suffered as a result of an error or omission in their care.
Medical providers have a duty to provide their patients with care that is up to professional standards. If they breach this duty, and injure a patient as a result, the patient may be able to hold them liable for their damages.
Theory and practice
This legal theory may look straightforward in the paragraph above, but it can be incredibly complicated when trying to apply it to real-world situations.
The practice of medicine has inherent risks, and no medical treatment comes with a guarantee of success. In medical malpractice cases, the injured must show that the care they received fell below professional standards, and that their injuries were the result of something their medical provider did or failed to do. This can require securing expert witnesses and complicated evidence.
The scary headlines about medical malpractice can be misleading at times, but the suffering of injured patients is very real. When their injuries are the result of medical negligence, they deserve compensation. An experienced attorney can help them understand their legal options.