What Is Medical Malpractice?

Not all doctors are created equal. While some go above and beyond for their patients, others do not measure up. The reasons for this vary. Some may burnout due to overwork. Others may stop caring so much about the patient and start focusing more on their status and financial achievements.

One thing all doctors and medical professionals should understand is that there are consequences when they make mistakes on the job. Some of these errors may be innocent and unavoidable. However, it is those missteps that are avoidable that may cost the doctor in the long run. Read on to find out what constitutes medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or someone else affiliated with the medical profession acts recklessly, leading to a patient’s further injury or illness. Negligence is the hallmark of any malpractice claim. That is, the misstep must have been avoidable and foreseeable to qualify as medical malpractice. When a doctor does not take the necessary steps dictated by the patient’s injury or illness and instead chooses to forge another path that eventually leads to the patient getting worse, a claim of medical malpractice may be made.

What Are Some Examples?

There are two main paths towards medical malpractice. The first is when a doctor or medical practitioner acts contrary to what the medical standard dictates. If a patient comes in and complains of chest pain, shortness of breath, and lethargy, a physician would typically check the blood pressure and use an EKG to see if there is a cardiac event occurring. However, if a doctor does not follow this path and instead takes the patient’s temperature and then chooses to send them to the hospital for an MRI of the head, this action may lead to the patient having a heart attack. Since the doctor did not follow the necessary procedures, the patient suffered. In the same scenario, if the doctor fails to act, meaning the patient is sent home and told to rest, and has a heart attack, the doctor is negligent for failing to act.

What Are the Consequences? 

When a medical professional gets a diagnosis wrong or fails to diagnose in the first place and the patient suffers, the professional may be the subject of a lawsuit. The victim may have had to endure more significant pain and suffering because of the doctor’s negligence. The worst-case scenario results in the patient’s death. In this instance, the doctor may be responsible, and a wrongful death suit may be warranted.