The average patient seeking care from a medical professional does not know nearly as much about medicine as their physician. They trust that the doctor diagnosing or treating them is a professional whose experience, abilities and education meet certain specific standards.
Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes while working that may have dire implications for the patients in their care. Sometimes, mistakes happen due to no fault of anyone involved in the patient’s treatment. A patient could have a previously undiscovered allergy to a certain medication, for example. Other times, a situation with a poor outcome for a patient is a clear example of medical malpractice.
How can a patient know whether what happened was a true accident or a likely case of serious medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice has a very specific definition
Every licensed medical professional should do their best to conform to current best practices and to act in the best interests of each patient they treat. The medical industry establishes expectations for different specialties. For example, an anesthesiologist should remain up to date on information about contraindications for certain drugs and best practices when monitoring a patient’s response to drug administration. A primary care physician should follow standard diagnostic protocols when attempting to rule out severe medical issues and reach a diagnosis.
When professionals fail to follow best practices, those deviations from standard procedure might constitute medical malpractice. Both intentional deviations from established standards and failures due to gross negligence could constitute medical malpractice. If a patient consults with another physician with the same specialization and that doctor providing the second opinion asserts that the original doctor did not meet professional standards, that situation may constitute medical malpractice. It is often necessary for people to confer with not only another physician but possibly also a lawyer to evaluate whether they have a viable medical malpractice claim after treatment does not go the way they expect.
A successful medical malpractice claim can both help cover the losses a patient suffers due to a doctor’s professional feelings and potentially change the way that the doctor practices medicine. Recognizing when a situation likely involves medical malpractice is often the first step toward demanding justice for an affected patient.