Medical Malpractice: What You Need to Know


Jun 9, 2021

When you go to a hospital to get treatment for an ailment or injury, you expect to receive the highest standard of care. Your doctor has to ensure that you receive the best medical care they can provide. However, on numerous occasions, doctors have made mistakes in their treatment plans, leading to more medical problems.

Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action available to a patient when their doctor fails to uphold their required standard of care, causing injury to the patient. It does not have to be a doctor, though; an injured patient can also bring a claim for medical malpractice against a health care institution or other types of health care professional. For a medical error to be considered medical malpractice, it must have certain characteristics.

The law requires these four characteristics must be present before a medical error is considered medical malpractice:

1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship Has Been Established

You must be able to prove that you were in fact the accused provider’s patient and that you didn’t just get poor information from a website or hearsay. Something such as a bill from their office, your medical record with them, a past doctor’s note, or a prescription from this provider would suffice.

2. Failure to Provide the Required Standard of Care

All health care professionals have the duty to provide you with the best standard of care. When you walk into the hospital, you have the right to expect that your doctor will take good care of you. If your doctor fails to provide the necessary standard of care, the question of negligence on their part might arise. An example of a poor standard of care is delayed diagnosis and treatment of a patient, leading to more suffering and even death.

3. Negligence Caused Your Injury

Another important characteristic of injury is negligence. Your injury needs to be a result of the negligence of your health care professional. You have to prove that the negligence of your doctor caused the injury you sustained. For example, your doctor left a scalpel in your abdomen after surgery, causing more damage to your health, resulting in other surgical procedures to remove it. If the negligence did not cause any harm, the medical error might not be medical malpractice.

4. Injury Has Damaging Consequences

You have to show that the injury sustained has significant damages due to the negligence of your doctor. Medical malpractice suits are expensive, and you have to bring in medical experts to prove your claim. The medical experts have to be paid after the trial is over. If the injury is small, then the amount recovered might not cover the legal costs and medical experts’ costs. Your medical malpractice attorney will guide you through the steps of pursuing a medical malpractice claim.

Types of Medical Malpractice

There are several forms of medical malpractice. Failure to diagnose is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. A doctor fails to diagnose their patient correctly, leading to treating the wrong ailment. To prove failure to diagnose, the patient has shown that any other competent doctor could have made the correct diagnosis.

Another type is improper treatment, where the doctor had diagnosed you correctly but ended up giving you the wrong treatment. Failure to warn the patient of risks involved, for example, blood thinners, helps prevent heart attacks and strokes, but if you take too many blood thinners, it could lead to excessive bleeding. Your doctor has to warn you of such risks. 

Other medical malpractice may indulge in leaving surgical tools inside the patient, performing surgery on the wrong body part, using dirty tools leading to infections, premature discharge, among many others. 

Reach Out to a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have suffered a significant injury due to your doctor’s negligence, you need to speak to experienced medical malpractice attorneys like those at Kooi Law. Their attorneys have the best experience and success in procuring full and fair compensation on behalf of numerous injured patients. They also help families who have lost their loved ones to medical malpractice by form of wrongful death suits.