What Exactly Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
It’s somewhat common for patients to suffer from injuries or medical conditions resulting from the errors of doctors or healthcare professionals. However, just because a person is harmed when receiving medical care does not mean that the physician has committed medical malpractice. There has to be a clear indication of negligent or reckless action on the part of the doctor.
If physicians or nurses have been negligent, they have failed to meet the quality of care expected of a reasonably competent healthcare professional with their training and education. There are a variety of situations that could be examples of doctor negligence, including a failure to diagnose a medical condition, failure to give proper advice to a patient about health risks of certain medications or treatments, birth complications and errors that occur during surgery.
Injuries and illnesses suffered due to recklessness are not as common as negligence, but they could still be involved in a medical malpractice claim. A reckless doctor could, for example, have performed a surgery or risky procedure while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or have purposefully broken accepted medical practices in attempts to treat patients.
A medical malpractice claim might not be feasible, however, if a patient’s condition simply worsens during the course of treatment. There is a general understanding that doctors are unable to treat or cure certain conditions, and that there is never a guarantee of a patient positively responding to a treatment. Additionally, physicians may not be held liable if a patient’s condition is terminal or otherwise untreatable.