WHAT IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
A medical malpractice case does not depend on the patient’s outcome. Medicine is not an exact science. Even when a medical professional complies with accepted medical standards, a patient may suffer a poor outcome.
Rather, medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional departs from standard practice in his or her field. The patient must prove that the doctor’s negligence caused the patient harm.
Without medical training, one can’t know what standard medical practice is. For example, a specialist must comply with the standard of the average specialist in his or her field. Therefore, the standard of practice by which a doctor’s conduct is judged generally must be furnished by the expert testimony of another physician.
Medical malpractice also occurs when a doctor performs a procedure without getting the patient’s informed consent. “Informed consent” means that the patient agrees to a proposed treatment, after being fully informed of the risks and benefits. However, for a valid informed consent claim, any undisclosed risk must actually have occurred. Further, the patient must prove that a fully-informed, reasonable patient under the same circumstances wouldn’t have consented to the treatment.
Additionally, medical malpractice occurs if a doctor fails to perform a procedure without getting the patient’s informed consent. The victim must prove that a fully-informed, reasonable patient would have wanted the procedure performed.
As in any malpractice case, a patient with an informed consent claim also has to prove that the doctor’s action (or inaction) actually caused harm.
What to do if you’re a victim of medical malpractice.
The above is just a partial summary of a complicated area of law. If you believe that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, contact a qualified attorney immediately. There are deadlines to bring claims. If you miss a deadline, you will be unable to recover any compensation. No matter how valid your claim might otherwise be.
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