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What is Medical Malpractice?

The regulation and standardization of medicine was not in existence until the second part of the 19th century.

The Beginning

The American Medical Association, therefore, was founded in 1847 with the aim of advocating for the standardization in physician training and medical practice. This was meant to enhance the economic and social reputation of medical profession. Hence, the violation of medical standards leads to medical malpractice.

The Definition of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs as a result of negligence by the hospital, health provider or doctor when they provide the patient with incorrect or substandard diagnosis, health care, treatment, or aftercare that may lead to more harm, injury, or death. The victim can file a court case for medical malpractice against the doctor if their actions strayed from the accepted standards of practice, or against the hospital for inadequate treatment like sanitation or medication problems. The victim can also file a case against the local, federal, or state agencies that run the hospital facilities. There are, however, several factors that determine what is meant by medical malpractice.

Violation of Medical Care Standard

The law recognizes that there are certain medical care standards that heath care professionals know as acceptable health treatment practices. A patient has the right to receive health care from the health professional that complies with these set standards. Negligence, however, is established when an expert in the relevant field proves that the health professional has violated the standard medical care. Nonetheless, some violations of medical care are so obvious that expert testimony is not required; for instance, an operation on the wrong arm is an obvious violation that does not need expert proves. In such instances, the legal proceeding is shortened, and the jury can proceed to establish the damages.

An injury Ensued From the Negligence

The patient must provide evidence that he injured because of the negligence by the doctor or medical health provider. Nevertheless, an outcome that the patient may not have liked after receiving the treatment is not recognized as medical malpractice. This is because there is no case without proving that the injury ensued from the negligence. Alternatively, the patient can provide a legally sufficient relationship between the injury and the violation of duty.
There are Damages as a Result of the Injury
For a case to be accepted, the patient must prove that medical negligence led to significant damages as a result of the injury such as a disability, unusual pain, hardship, loss of income, or significant medical bills for the past and future treatment. The cost of following the case may be greater than the ultimate recovery if the damages are minimal. As a result, the court will calculate the damages for compensation based on extend of the damage. The compensation is usually in monetary terms since punitive damages rarely occur in medical malpractice; the courts, however, reserves them for outstandingly bad behaviors prohibited in the society such as sexual abuse of a patient.

The Process of Medical Malpractice Trial

Cases of medical malpractice rarely reach trial especially in the United States because the legal system is based on respective lawyers’ adversarial advocacy designed to promote effective dispute self-resolution. Many legal tools, therefore, have been developed and the most important is the discovery process. In this method, there is an extensive period of discovery between case filing and trial, or consultations and factual understanding by the parties. The discovery process is simplified by interrogatories, document requests, and dispositions. The documents include medical records, hospital billing information, and clinic notes. The parties exchange underlying information and facts to allow them reach a mutual understanding and resolve the case.
Medical malpractice cases can be stressful, expensive, and time consuming, and a quick honesty apology by the health professional will provide an opportunity for settling the case without litigation. Moreover, insurance companies with which the professional is insured will want to settle with the patient directly where possible. Additionally, experienced attorneys will pursue a case only if the damages and injuries are well-documented and reviewed by an expert in the relevant specialty.

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