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What is medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider—such as a doctor, nurse, therapist or healthcare facility—fails to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action or otherwise provides substandard treatment that causes harm, injury or death to a patient. 

The negligence in question might result from errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare or health management. Understanding what medical malpractice is can help patients and families who suspect that care may have fallen below acceptable standards and led to harm that should have reasonably been prevented.

Medical malpractice must be proven before damages are awarded

Healthcare providers are required to provide patients with a specific “standard of care.” This standard broadly refers to the degree and type of care that a reasonably competent professional would have provided under similar circumstances. Medical malpractice arises when this standard is breached—through acts of omission or commission—and results in a patient’s injury or death.

For a case to be considered medical malpractice, a healthcare provider must have been negligent in some way. That is, the provider did not act with the same skill or diligence as others in the profession would have under similar circumstances. Examples include misdiagnosing a condition that a competent doctor would likely have recognized, prescribing incorrect medications or dosages or unreasonably delaying treatment for a diagnosed medical condition.

Finally, there must be a direct link between the healthcare provider’s negligence and the patient’s injury or harm. This means showing that the injury resulted from the provider’s deviation from the standard of care, and not from some underlying medical condition or external factor. 

When all of these concerns can be proven, victims are in an excellent position to receive damage awards related to the harm that they have suffered.