Bad outcomes happen in the medical world every day–unfortunately, not every disease is curable, nor is every injury treatable. It’s important to understand, however, that a bad outcome in a medical situation does not always mean malpractice. In order for a bad result to rise to the level of medical malpractice, a person must be able to demonstrate several elements in their individual case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional deviates from the established standards of care of his or her profession and causes injury to a person through a negligent act or omission.
Negligence in a Medical Malpractice Case
One of the most common scenarios of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or medical professional’s actions are negligent. In order for a medical malpractice case based on negligence to be successful, a plaintiff must be able to demonstrate all of the following elements:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed between the medical professional and the plaintiff at the time of the injury;
- The medical professional owed a duty of care to the patient;
- The medical professional acted–or failed to act–in a way that breached the duty of care to the patient;
- The act or omission by the medical professional was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the medical professional’s actions.
Examples of Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania and Maryland
While there are endless scenarios which can rise to the level of malpractice, common forms of medical malpractice include:
- Surgical errors such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical equipment inside of the body;
- Misdiagnosing a condition, delayed diagnosis, or failing to diagnose a condition altogether; and
- Medication errors such as administering the wrong medication or administering too much or too little of a medication;
Standard of Care in a Medical Malpractice Case
When it comes to a personal injury case, the question of whether negligence occurred hinges upon whether a reasonable person would have acted differently in similar circumstances. This is considered a “standard of care.” In order to be successful in a personal injury case, a plaintiff must be able to show that a person fell short of the applicable standard of care.
In the case of medical malpractice, a person who has been injured by a medical professional must establish that the medical professional’s actions did not live up to the standard of care. In other words, the victim must be able to demonstrate that the medical professional’s actions were unreasonable and that a reasonable medical professional in similar circumstances would not have acted in the same way.
Want to Know More About Medical Malpractice in Pennsylvania or Maryland?
Although it’s smart to educate yourself on the elements of a medical malpractice case, the best way to determine if you may have a claim is to speak with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney. At Gilman & Bedigian, our attorneys are committed to educating our clients about their legal rights and working to obtain the compensation our clients deserve. To speak with a member of our legal team in Philadelphia or Baltimore, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.