Medical Malpractice Defined


Medical Malpractice Defined

When a medical practitioner is accused of malpractice, another health care professional is asked for his or her opinion. It is expected that both practitioners would use similar procedures to treat the patient.


By: Robert Thatcher

A patient comes to a medical professional to be healed or be treated for an ailment. When the opposite happens, and the patient is injured, or the situation worsens because of a mistake made by a health care provider, it is called medical malpractice.

Malpractice occurs when a doctor or a health care professional deviates from the standards which are accepted in the medical profession. It is mostly the doctor who has the final say in the procedure or treatment that a patient undergoes.

Once a medical practitioner veers away from the standard medical practice and it results in serious injuries or complications, this is considered malpractice.

In cases where a medical practitioner is accused of malpractice, another health care professional is asked for his or her opinion on the procedure that is applicable in the circumstances for that patient. It is expected that both practitioners would use similar procedures to treat the patient.

Let’s take a look at the mistakes which classify as medical malpractice:

1. Injuries relating to birth

2. Incorrect dosage and dispersal of medicine or error with a prescription

3. Incorrect or delayed diagnosis of an ailment

4. Improper treatment

5. Surgery mistakes

6. Failure to refer to a medical specialist

7. Health complications from errors made by an anesthesiologists

8. Improper procedures performed in emergency rooms

9. Abuse of patients in nursing homes, children’s ward and other medical institutions

10. Mistakes with the general treatment of a patient

There have been cases where a healthy part of the body was removed because of incorrect diagnosis and a delay in the delivery of a baby may result in serious complications. However, the worst case scenario is when a patient dies inadvertently due to a mistake made by the doctor.

More specifically, malpractice occurs when the medical professional neglects to perform his or her duties on a timely and efficient manner. As with any other aspect of our lives, negligence usually has negative results. In the medical profession, there should be zero tolerance for negligence because people’s lives and health are at stake.

Medical Malpractice Laws and Cases

The laws regarding malpractice in the United States may differ from state to state. They are changed from time to time and some laws may apply only to particular circumstances.

If you have a relative or a friend who has suffered or died due to medical malpractice, you may want to consult a lawyer in your state who specializes in such cases. Be sure that the lawyer has extensive experience in the field so that you will have the best legal support possible. You may also want to review past medical malpractice cases to become better informed.

Without professional advice, it is difficult to recognize whether you have a good or bad malpractice case against a health care professional.

As in criminal or corporate law, each case is unique and has its own downsides and merits. Your lawyer is the best person to advise you, after having worked through the details of the case.

Most cases drag on for a long time and they can consume much of your time and money. A frank discussion with your lawyer is advised before proceeding to file a case. Most legal practitioners will consider the financial implications and legal merits of your case before making a recommendation whether to proceed or not.

Medical malpractice is a growing problem in the United States causing doctors’ insurance rates to skyrocket. However, if you think you have a valid case and decide to pursue a lawsuit, be sure that you have an experienced lawyer on your side who will adequately defend your rights.


About The Author:

Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides malpractice resources on


Photo: Vanity Press