Medical malpractice is a complex area of the law which handles issues of negligence. The reasons why this is a complex area is because actually proving negligence in most cases is very difficult. As experts like Dr. Bruce G. Fagel talk about proof of actual medical malpractice is not easy and there are in fact many cases which they will not take on because of the fact that being able to prove it is just so difficult.
For example many patients who receive a misdiagnosis or indeed an incorrect diagnosis often claim this to be medical malpractice, the reality however is that errors are allowed in the hospital setting. Nurses and doctors are not perfect, and we cannot expect them to be so. Errors can happen but malpractice is something very different, and these are some examples of when this takes place.
The worst cases of medical malpractice are those which result in the death of a patient. When a patient dies, there is a full inquiry as to why they have died and if any foul play is suspected it is a very serious incident indeed. This could be as a result of being given the wrong medication, being treated in the wrong way or even being handled in the wrong way. Naturally any family member of the deceased will want a full inquiry and a court case if any foul play is discovered.
Treatment options are generally defined by the Institute of Medicine and whilst doctors do have scope within that to make their own judgements, they cannot veer to far from it. If a physician decides to go against the treatment recommendations completely and this result in long term damage to the patient then this could certainly be seen as a case for medical malpractice. It is not always the easiest to prove but if you are able to prove it then this is very much grounds for legal action.
In surgery mistakes can happen, especially if the surgery is highly detailed and delicate. This is generally accepted and in the main patients are warned of any potential issues before they are taken to the operating room, where they sign consent forms whilst of sound mind. What is not acceptable however and what is actually deemed as medical malpractice is when something happens on the operating table which occurs through negligence or miscommunication between the staff. A perfect example of this would be operating on the wrong patient, as a result of admin or clerical errors. Other examples include leaving an instrument inside the body following the surgery, causing lasting damage to organs which shouldn’t have been touched and even surgeons operating under the influence, or having been suspended.
These are all very critical and important examples and when they do take place it is essential that malpractice lawsuits are brought about, if for no other reason than to prevent the issue taking place again in the future.