The Fine Line Between Medical Malpractice and a Bad Outcome

by Ladyblogger on February 19, 2013

People are supposed to be able to trust their doctors with their very lives. There are no other professionals that we knowingly put this much trust into, but unfortunately, some physicians and other medical technicians let us down every now and again. Many people view these disappointing experiences as medical malpractice, and in many cases, that’s exactly what they are. It’s important to note, however, that not every bad outcome or inopportune result is malpractice. Every individual and their family should understand what constitutes medical malpractice when they or a loved doesn’t fare well after medical treatment.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Though medical malpractice law is complex and every single instance of malpractice is different in some way, the overall definition of the act is relatively simple. Medical malpractice is a form of professional negligence performed by someone who is providing healthcare for another person. This negligence can be composed of a negligent act or by omission of something that should have occurred. This alleged act must fall below the acceptable level of care standards of the medical field and lead to the injury or death of a patient to be considered malpractice. Now, whether it’s medical malpractice lawyers in Ithaca NY, or clear across the country in California, they can both agree on the fact that there’s a high number of these cases being reported.

There are several cases which are obviously malpractice. In one instance, for example, a man was to undergo surgery to have one of his legs removed. Unfortunately, the doctor got the two legs mixed up and ended up removing the wrong leg. It’s still important to note, however, that an event doesn’t have to reach this level of negligence. As stated, any act that falls below acceptable medical practices (ie. not checking current medications) and causes injury or death is likely malpractice.

What Does Not Constitute Medical Malpractice?

Unfortunately, many individuals or their family members end up experiencing seriously negative outcomes with no recourse whatsoever. Some of these people think that they’ll be able to get some form of compensation for their losses, but they soon find out that what occurred to them wasn’t malpractice. What many people don’t realize is the fact that every detrimental outcome in the medical profession isn’t the result of negligence.

There are numerous things that can happen that could ruin a person’s entire life without constituting negligence. Any surgical procedure, for instance, carries several inherent dangers. As mentioned earlier, if a doctor cuts off the wrong appendage, they’ve acted negligently. If a surgeon does everything right and their patient still dies on the table, however, it’s likely that no negligence occurred whatsoever.

Though it may be hard to survive after a negative medical outcome, it’s important that doctors aren’t sued for every one of these situations. If medical professionals had to fear litigation after any death or uncured disease, they’d literally lose so much money in malpractice insurance that they wouldn’t be able to practice. This doesn’t mean, however, that patients cannot get compensation for actual negligence. It’s just important to recognize the difference between negligence and plain old bad luck.

Medical professionals are usually blessings to those who are weak or ill. There are laws on the books that are meant to protect individuals from negligent doctors, but this doesn’t mean that every negative outcome constitutes malpractice. There are times when things just aren’t going to work out how we want them to; it’s just a part of life. When these times occur as a direct result of physician negligence, however, a patient or their family will likely be able to recover damages.

Author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about tough medical issues that impact our country, and contributes this article for the purpose of raising awareness about malpractice in the medical field. The Bottar Leone firm is known for it’s medical malpractice lawyers in Ithaca NY. Over the last three decades, their attorneys have prosecuted almost every type of medical negligence case and they know how to successfully defend your rights.

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