What Constitutes Medical Malpractice? – LIFESTYLE BY PS icon

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?


Taking care of your physical health is very important. One part of doing this is ensuring that you see a doctor for regular checkups and on an as-needed basis. If you have any health concerns or challenges, receiving the appropriate procedures or other medical care can also help ensure you are able to recover.

While most people assume that they are receiving the best care possible, there are situations in which negligence could take place that result in further health setbacks or even death. In these situations, you may have a warranted medical malpractice claim that you can pursue. It is important to understand what constitutes medical malpractice and to assess common examples of it to determine whether you have a valid claim. 

Characteristics of Medical Malpractice

For a personal injury or wrongful death to be considered medical malpractice, it must meet the definition of the characteristics. The characteristic of medical malpractice includes if there is a violation of the expected standard of care, if the negligence led to an injury, and if the injury led to a significant level of damages or death. There are some situations in particular that are the most likely to result in a medical malpractice claim.

Negligent Surgical Errors

The most common reason why someone will file a malpractice claim is because they, or a loved one, went through a procedure in which negligent errors occurred. There will always be an inherent risk when going through any type of surgical procedure. However, it is commonly assumed that the surgeon and medical team will provide good care and make appropriate decisions. If the surgeon makes a critical error or uses poor judgment that then leads to further injuries or death, it could be an example of medical malpractice.

Unnecessary Surgery

While errors that occur in surgery can result in a malpractice case, receiving a surgery that is not deemed to be necessary can also be considered negligence. Surgery and procedures can be hard on the body and take a long time to recover from. Due to this, they should be reserved for situations in which they are considered necessary. If you are recommended or pressured by a doctor or hospital to receive a procedure that is later deemed unnecessary, it could be considered malpractice if you are injured or struggle to recover once it is over.

Misreading or Ignoring Lab Results

Diagnostic and blood lab results are very important and typically taken at least once per year and whenever else they are deemed necessary. These provide crucial information about your health and could indicate a variety of different health challenges. While doctors should be more than equipped and experienced to review these lab results, there is always a chance that they could make a mistake or forget to review them entirely. This could then result in a failed diagnosis, which could have prevented further health challenges if the situation was caught sooner. If you can evidence that your doctor did not properly read or assess the results, it could result in a valid malpractice claim.

Failure to Order Testing or Recognize Symptoms

Similar to not reading lab results properly, failing to have them ordered or recognize symptoms of a disease is an example of malpractice. If you have gone to the doctor to express health concerns, they should always listen to your concerns and evaluate your symptoms. If the doctor did not order the right testing to look further into your symptoms, or they ignored you completely, it could be an example of malpractice if their lack of urgency ends up resulting in further health challenges for you.

Not Factoring in Patient History

When it comes to providing any type of care, the personal and family history of a patient is very important. Past medical history, personal health habits, and even family history are great predictors for how well someone will respond to certain treatments. Due to this, doctors and surgeons should ensure they are taking this into consideration when developing a treatment plan. If they have not properly considered your medical history, it is an example of negligence, and you may have a valid medical malpractice claim if you incurred damages as a result of it.

Early Discharge or Failure to Follow Up

After surgery or other procedure is complete, the surgeon and medical staff continue to have some responsibility for the patient. If a patient becomes ill or suffers a setback shortly after leaving the hospital, the medical practice could be held liable for malpractice, as they may have permitted an early discharge before the proper follow-up was completed.

If you are someone you care for experiences a health setback due to medical malpractice, you should hire a medical malpractice attorney. The skilled medical malpractice lawyers of Wapner Newman can provide you with a full consultation on your case to determine whether the situation constitutes malpractice. They can then provide a variety of services that will ensure your rights are properly represented, and you receive appropriate consideration for the negligence.