What is medical malpractice?

by | Apr 27, 2013 | Lawyers and Law Firms

The generally accepted definition of medical malpractice is when substandard treatment at the hands of a physician, the institution or any other healthcare professional directly resulted in physical or economic damage to the affected patient. Malpractice lawyers in Houston will tell you that “substandard” care is when normal medical practice has been violated. There are three things that must be present in a medical malpractice action:

  • Liability
  • Damage
  • A direct casual link

To even entertain malpractice it must be established that there was an existing professional relationship between the practitioner and the patient. This is always easy to prove, however, proving substandard care can be infinitely more difficult. Inadequate care in and by itself is not malpractice.

There must be injury, physical or emotional suffering or economic damage present and proven to be a direct result of negligence before malpractice lawyers in Houston can progress the case. Surgery, as well as other medical procedures have an inherent risk associated with them and an outcome less than expected cannot be considered malpractice.

Malpractice exists in many forms. The failure to diagnose a disease which is life threatening, errors made in prescribing medication, errors in surgery, miscalculations with anesthetics and the failure to provide follow-up care are all perfect examples of malpractice. With all the talk about the dangers of smoking and obesity, it is often overlooked that medical malpractice is the third largest cause of death in the US.

Malpractice lawyers In Houston will often a more difficult time bringing suit against an employee of the hospital than suing the surgeon. Very often, certain members of the hospital staff are private contractors and in this case, the contractor is named as a party to the suit, not the hospital.

HMOs often restrict the level of care they give in order to save money. As a result, they are often the targets of malpractice suits. They can be considered guilty of medical malpractice if the care they do not give or approve results in serious injury or even death to the patient who was denied proper care. There are phenomenal difficulties associated with most medical malpractice suits but none more complex than suing an HMO. It is often hard to determine whether the health insurance of the plaintiff is private or company sponsored, and it is even difficult to determine if the person is even eligible for care.

Malpractice lawyers In Houston will often bring a class action suit on behalf of a number of parties affected by the same negligent action. There can be thousands of plaintiffs to a class action suit against a drug manufacturer for example. In the event the suit is successful, the plaintiffs are paid equally from the award after all legal costs and legal fees have been taken into account.


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