Malpractice cases stem from a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common malpractice case is a failure to diagnose a condition in a timely way. In some instances, patients may suffer significant physical and financial hardship due to a doctor's misdiagnosis.
If you or someone you know has had to come to terms with crushing medical news, you understand the devastation. What may worsen the blow is finding that the doctor missed vital clues that may have led to an earlier discovery and effective treatment.
What is malpractice?
When someone in the medical field commits an error, it does not always fall under malpractice. To qualify for malpractice, an element of negligence must exist. This is a failure on the part of a medical professional to hold true to the standard of care. It may occur due to carelessness or a blatant disregard of procedures, practices or facts.
How does misdiagnosis fall under malpractice?
The highest percentage of malpractice cases come from a missed or incorrect diagnosis. While missing a medical issue is not necessarily negligent, in some circumstances, it may fall into that category. If the error occurred due to a doctor's failure to pay attention to signs and symptoms that pointed to the proper diagnosis, even if pointed out repeatedly, it may qualify as malpractice.
How is a malpractice case proven?
Malpractice cases fall under the rules of personal injury litigation. To win this type of suit, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent, and this contributed to a degradation of the plaintiff's life. Expert witnesses, medical personnel in the same field as the defendant, review medical records, examinations and depositions to form an opinion regarding whether the defendant acted negligently. The plaintiff may also present other evidence pointing out further proof of negligence.