Medical Malpractice 101: Everything You Need to Know

Medical malpractice is an important and complex issue that can affect anyone. It occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the standard of care that a patient should expect, resulting in injury or death. Medical malpractice can be difficult to understand, but it is essential to know the potential risks and what to do if something happens.

This article will provide an overview of medical malpractice, including its types and the elements that show you have a medical practice case.

What Are Some Types of Medical Malpractice?

While the term “medical malpractice” is often used to refer to all types of medical negligence, there are four common types of medical malpractice identified by the medical community: anesthesia errors, birth injury, misreading or ignoring lab results, and surgical errors. 

1. Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia errors involve the improper administration of anesthesia. This can lead to a patient experiencing an overdose of anesthesia, an underdose of anesthesia, or an incorrect type of anesthesia. Anesthesia errors can lead to serious complications, such as brain damage or death.

2. Birth Injury

Birth injuries are caused by medical negligence during the delivery of a baby. This could include the failure to diagnose a condition in the mother that could cause harm to the baby, the use of excessive force during delivery, or a delay in performing a cesarean section.

Birth injuries can cause serious, long-term health problems in the baby, including brain damage and physical disabilities.

3. Misreading or Ignoring Lab Results

Medical professionals are expected to properly read and interpret lab results to make accurate diagnoses and provide effective treatment. If a medical professional misreads or ignores lab results, it can lead to a missed or delayed diagnosis, resulting in further complications for the patient.

4. Surgical Errors

Surgical errors can occur when a medical professional makes a mistake during a surgical procedure. This can include operating on the wrong body part, leaving an instrument inside the patient’s body, or failing to sterilize the surgical equipment properly. Surgical errors can result in serious complications, including infection, organ damage, and even death.

What Are the Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim?

For a patient to have a successful medical malpractice claim, four key elements must be established: a doctor-patient relationship, negligence, a doctor’s negligence causing injury, and injury leading to specific physical damage.

1. A Doctor-Patient Relationship

The doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of any medical malpractice claim. The patient must show that they had a doctor-patient relationship with the healthcare provider and that the provider had a duty to provide a certain standard of care.

2. Negligence

Negligence is the act of failing to use reasonable care. The patient must show that the healthcare provider failed to meet the accepted standard of care and that this failure caused the injury.

3. Doctor’s Negligence Causing Injury

The patient must show that the doctor’s negligence was the cause of their injury. This must be proven with evidence that shows that negligence was the cause of the injury and not some other factor.

4. Injury Leading To Specific Physical Damage

The patient must show that the injury caused specific physical damage. The medical malpractice claim must show that the injury caused the patient to suffer some physical damage. This could include loss of wages, medical expenses, physical and emotional pain, suffering, disability, or disfigurement. 

Final Thoughts

These elements must be present for a successful medical malpractice claim to be filed. It is important to remember that medical malpractice claims can be complex and require significant evidence. With that in mind, you must contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you build a strong case and protect your rights.

Do you need a medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia? Contact the offices of Murray, Stone & Wilson. Our founding partners bring over 30 years of experience as trial lawyers, so you can rest easy knowing that you have an expert team guiding you on your case. Talk to our team today to discuss your case.