You may be familiar with the term “medical malpractice.” Malpractice can involve hospitals, doctors and healthcare facilities. The legal foundation for malpractice is that doctors owe a special duty of care with patients. While doctors may not be liable for every harm a patient suffers, there are some mistakes for which a doctor can be held responsible.
Medical News Today explains that in order to be malpractice, the patient has to suffer an injury. If a doctor makes an error but there is no injury or harm, then there is no medical malpractice. There must be some form of harm. Likewise, that harm must have consequences. These consequences may include suffering, pain, disability, loss of income or other hardships.
A study by John Hopkins showed that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death outside of cancer and heart disease. Medical malpractice may refer to a number of different errors. Some of these errors include:
- Incorrect surgery
- Fatal infections
- Wrong dosage
- Incorrect tests
When a doctor breaches his or her duty of care, it can result in a medical malpractice suit. While some medical errors are unavoidable and nobody is perfect, there is a standard for behavior and for diagnosis. If a doctor rushes or if he or she does not abide by the standard of care, then he or she may be responsible for damages.
A patient feeling dissatisfied with his or her treatment is not necessarily malpractice. Not all treatments have positive outcomes, but it is not always the doctor’s fault.