We go to the doctor when we do not feel good and trust that they will tell us what is wrong and prescribe a treatment. What happens when the doctor tells you that there is nothing wrong or prescribes a treatment that makes you worse?
When a medical professional does something, or did not do something they should have, that results in a patient’s injury, you can hold them negligent for medical malpractice. A study done by the British Medical Journal concludes that medical error is now the third leading cause of death, killing over 250,000 people each year.
Types of medical malpractice
There are, unfortunately, many types of medical malpractice. Common ones include:
- Delayed diagnosis: When a doctor does not diagnose an illness in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if they had all of the facts but did not make a diagnosis, resulting in a patient’s worsening condition, the doctor many be liable.
- Misdiagnosis: This type of malpractice occurs when a doctor makes a diagnosis, but it was the wrong one. In the time between diagnoses, a patient can get significantly worse, or even risk death.
- Surgical errors: There are a lot of different surgical errors, but well-known ones are wrong-site, wrong-patient or wrong-procedure. These events should never occur.
- Medication error: if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication, the wrong dosage or does not monitor the improvement of a patient on the drug, they may face a malpractice suit.
What you need to prove
In order to have a case against the doctor or other medical professional who performed negligently, you need to prove these three things:
- Doctor-patient relationship existed
- Doctor acted negligently
- Said negligence caused your injury
The possibility of a doctor making a mistake is scary, which is why getting a second opinion is always a good idea.