Medical negligence is often used in synonym with medical malpractice. Strictly speaking, medical negligence can be defined as an act committed by a healthcare professional who falls short of providing the accepted standard of quality care to the patient. However, medical negligence is one element in the legal requirements of a medical malpractice case. Still, it also happens to be the most important element. It is the factor upon which the whole case hinges.
Typically, medical malpractice involves a medical error in any shape or form. It can be in health management, diagnosis, medication, dosage, treatment, surgery, aftercare, etc. However, filing a medical malpractice claim allows the patient to receive compensation from the negligent healthcare institute or practitioner.
How to prove medical negligence
Medical professionals have to uphold the duty of care to their patients according to the medical industry standards. These standards are defined by the level of care, type of services, and competency of the healthcare professional. However, the rules and standards regarding medical practice differ from state to state. Therefore, if you want to pursue a medical malpractice claim, keep in touch with the state rules and ensure that your appeal is in line with them. Nonetheless, the claim holds more credibility if the patient has been harmed. For instance, let’s say a patient is suffering from mesothelioma symptoms, but the healthcare provider misdiagnoses the patient and fails to determine the disease. In that case, failing to detect such fatal cancer in the initial stages will worsen the patient’s condition. Consequently, the patient will be unable to identify the actual health condition and receive proper mesothelioma treatment at the right time.
There are other examples where a healthcare provider’s negligence proved detrimental to their patient’s well-being. However, if you suspect negligence/malpractice at the hands of your practitioner, the following are ways to prove it.
1. Prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed
The first step to proving that you have become the victim of medical malpractice is to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship.
This step is highly critical, as it proves that you hired the services of a doctor, and the doctor you are suing consented to be hired. The reason is that you can’t sue a random doctor whose advice you overheard during dinner at a restaurant. You can only pursue the claim if the doctor officially treated you for your health condition.
It’s rather easy to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed as you might have documents of proof stating the doctor as your primary physician.
2. Prove that the doctor was negligent
There’s a difference between medical malpractice and your dissatisfaction with treatment. Medical negligence is only relevant regarding your diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, if you want to sue the healthcare professional, you must prove misdiagnosis or the use of improper treatment. You can do so by showing proof of how a competent and credible doctor would treat you differently in the same circumstances.
The main aspect of this proof is that the doctor doesn’t have to be excellent in their practice. They have to be reasonably careful and skillful enough to practice the medical standard of care. If they have deviated from these standards, it will raise questions on their skills and competence.
3. Medical malpractice caused the situation to worsen
In most medical malpractice cases, the patient is already injured or suffering from an illness. And that’s why they were seeking medical assistance in the first place. However, one of the most crucial questions is whether the negligence caused the patient any harm.
For example, if the patient sustains an injury during surgery, is the healthcare provider at fault, or did the patient’s deteriorating condition cause it. The patient or their loved one must prove that the doctor’s incompetency caused harm in such a case.
4. The injury caused specific damage
Even if the patient can prove that the doctor’s skills and actions were not meeting the medical care standard. Still, the patient must confirm that the medical malpractice resulted in harm. For this reason, the patient must go over some possible damages that were the result of medical malpractice and sue accordingly. They include:
- Mental trauma
- Emotional anguish
- Physical pain
- Loss of work or earning
- Additional medical bills
These are considered as some eligible harms for a medical negligence claim.
Now that you know how to prove medical negligence let us discuss some different types of medical malpractice.
Common types of medical malpractice
Failure to diagnose
Suppose the incompetency or medical errors made by the doctor led to an incorrect diagnosis. In that case, their failure to diagnose can harm the patient’s health. As a result, the patient outcome will be most unfortunate for all parties involved. In addition to that, the patient can file a medical malpractice claim due to this reason.
If the treatment provided is incorrect, the patient can file a medical malpractice claim. They can show that another competent doctor would handle the treatment and situation much differently in similar circumstances to prove this. But the doctor in question failed to administer proper treatment and was incompetent.
Failure to warn the patient about known risks
The patients have a right to information regarding their diagnosis and the treatment they are about to receive. Similarly, the doctor has to warn the patient about any known risks of the treatment, specific procedures, or medication that they will administer. This duty is known as informed consent and is one of the utmost important aspects of medical care.
The patient should know about the possible risks, and they should be the ones to decide if they want to proceed with the procedure or not. But if the patient sustains an injury because they weren’t informed about the risks, the doctor will be held responsible.
The medical malpractice law is complex, and it varies significantly from state to state. For this reason, you must get professional advice from a medical malpractice lawyer or, better yet, their representation for the case. The reason is that expert attorneys are qualified to handle the case and understand the state’s regulations. Moreover, they can help you gather the necessary documents to make a claim and guide you through the whole process.