When a patient visits a healthcare professional, they go there to feel better. However, sometimes patients are harmed or injured in the professional’s care. Medical malpractice is negligence or unprofessional conduct that leads to this harm or injury.
There are several situations where medical malpractice can occur. When a healthcare professional does not correctly diagnose a condition or delays a diagnosis, it can cause the patient’s condition to worsen or lead to unnecessary treatment.
If a healthcare professional makes a mistake during surgery, like operating on the wrong body part, performs the wrong procedure or leaves a surgical instrument inside a patient, that is also an example of medical malpractice.
Unfortunately, patients can also be harmed when too much or too little anesthesia is administered to them or they are not properly monitored during surgery.
Healthcare professionals are also required to obtain informed consent from the patient, which includes an explanation of the potential risks, benefits and alternatives to treatment. If the patient is harmed because they were not given an opportunity to provide informed consent, they may have a claim for medical malpractice.
Elements of the claim
The patient must prove several elements for a medical malpractice claim. The patient must show that there was a relationship with the healthcare professional, meaning they had a duty of care to the patient.
The patient must show that the healthcare professional breached their duty of care by deviating from the accepted standard of care and that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the patient’s injury or harm. Finally, the patient must show that they suffered actual harm or injury because of the healthcare provider’s negligence.