What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is one of the most well-known and publicized areas of malpractice law. By definition, medical malpractice is an act, omission, or professional negligence made by a medical professional which causes injury to the patient. While "medical professional" generally refers to doctors, it also includes nurses, psychiatrists/therapists, dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, and chiropractors. Unfortunately, the office or hospital employing the medical professional can share the medical liability in cases of medical malpractice.
Many states have a statute of limitations - a timeframe - for filing malpractice claims. For most states with a statue of limitations, times vary from one year (LA, OH, and TN) to as much as 5 years (MD). Most states restrict malpractice claims to 2 or 3 years.
Like other medical professionals, dentists can be responsible for medical malpractice. In this case, dental malpractice involves the dental treatment of a patient and any subsequent act, omission, or negligence made in the course of that treatment.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
The American Academy of Family Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies have malpractice statistics that show:
- Outpatient settings are responsible for the larger number of high-severity outcomes (including death) and account for 68% of all medical errors
- Negligence occurring in hospitals was more likely to have high-severity consequences
- Of the Top 10 error-related medical conditions, no single condition accounted for more than 5% of claims
- One-third of claims come from misdiagnosis or other diagnostic error
The Journal of the American Medical Association shows each year:
- 106,000 deaths occur from non-error adverse medication effects
- 80,000 deaths occur from infections in hospitals
- 20,000 deaths occur from other medical errors in hospitals
- 12,000 deaths occur from unnecessary surgeries
- 7,000 medication errors occur in hospitals
Medical Malpractice Claims
In order to prove malpractice a person must show:
- The medical professional owed a duty to a patient (agreed to treat)
- The medical professional failed in that duty
- The patient suffered injury or loss
- The loss or injury was caused by the medical professional's failure to do his or her duty
Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you have suffered from medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice attorney near you. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and what options you have available to you.
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Medical malpractice lawsuits may seek compensation from individual healthcare professionals, medical staff, or organizations that employ them.
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