Medical malpractice is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. When medical professionals fail to provide adequate care, it can lead to irreversible harm, permanent injury or even death. While medical malpractice is generally considered to be accidental or unintentional, there are some who argue that it can be intentional.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a term used to describe the negligence or substandard care provided by a medical professional. Malpractice can occur in any medical setting, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. It can also occur at any stage of medical treatment, from initial diagnosis to post-operative care. There are several types of medical malpractice, including:
Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to diagnose a patient's condition or diagnoses them with the wrong condition. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including inadequate testing, misinterpretation of test results, or failure to recognize symptoms. Misdiagnosis can lead to delayed or incorrect treatment, which can have serious consequences for the patient.
Surgical errors occur when a medical professional makes a mistake during surgery. This can include performing the wrong procedure, operating on the wrong body part, or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient's body. Surgical errors can cause severe pain, infection, and even death.
Failure to Obtain Informed Consent
Medical professionals have a duty to obtain informed consent from their patients before performing any procedure or treatment. Informed consent means that the patient has been fully informed of the risks and benefits of the treatment and has given their consent to proceed. Failure to obtain informed consent can lead to legal action and is considered a form of medical malpractice.
Is Medical Malpractice Intentional?
Medical malpractice is typically defined as a negligent act or omission by a healthcare professional that results in harm or injury to a patient. However, in some cases, medical malpractice can be intentional. This is known as intentional tortious conduct and occurs when a healthcare professional intentionally performs an act that results in harm to a patient.
Examples of intentional tortious conduct in the medical field include battery (unauthorized touching), assault (threatening to harm a patient), and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It is important to note that intentional tortious conduct is less common than negligent malpractice, but it is still a serious issue that can result in severe harm to patients.
Legal Definitions of Medical Malpractice
In order for an act to be considered medical malpractice, certain legal criteria must be met. Generally, there are four main elements that must be present:
- Duty - The medical professional must have had a duty to provide care to the patient. This duty is established when the patient seeks medical treatment from a professional.
- Breach of Duty - The medical professional must have breached their duty by providing substandard care or failing to provide appropriate care.
- Causation - The medical professional's breach of duty must have caused harm to the patient.
- Damages - The patient must have suffered damages as a result of the medical professional's breach of duty.
Improving Patient Outcomes
Reducing medical errors and improving patient outcomes is a shared responsibility between patients and medical professionals. Patients can take an active role in their own care by asking questions, providing accurate information, and advocating for themselves. Medical professionals can improve patient outcomes by staying up-to-date on the latest treatments and procedures, communicating effectively with patients and their families, and providing personalized care.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys at Scorpion Legacy
Our medical malpractice attorneys at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP can help injured patients by providing legal support and advocating for their rights. They have extensive experience in dealing with medical malpractice cases and can help clients navigate the complex legal process. Our attorneys work tirelessly to ensure that injured patients receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Call us today at (800) 572-7246 for a free initial consultation.