Medical Malpractice

by : Lucy Bartlett

Medical malpractice, which is also known as medical negligence, is caused by a physician who gives improper treatment to a health condition, which in turn causes a fresh or worsening health condition. Even though the primary health condition of the patient when he reported for consultation is not the responsibility of the medical practitioner, subsequent problems caused by improper approach in curing the health problem is the sole responsibility of the medical practitioner.

The malpractice may occur due to failure or delay in diagnosing the illness, a mishap, which happened during anesthesia or surgery, or if the practitioner omits to get the concurrence of the patient by providing incomplete details of when a surgery or an operation is to be performed.

Even though a correct diagnosis was made, subsequent improper treatment of the identified illness also constitutes to medical malpractice.

Implants, medical devices or prescription drug misuse also forms part of medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice is bound by the statute of limitations. Even with a valid claim, if a patient waits for a longer period, then the claim will be lost. After the malpractice takes place, a claim should be filed within 2 years. Since medical malpractice involves tricky exceptions and procedures, hence even if two years are elapsed it can still be possible to file a case.

A patient should not try to evaluate the claim by himself or liaise with the doctor or the hospital/clinic to work out a compromise. A decision is made by the insurance company which carried the medical practitioner's insurance regarding medical malpractice and they have the final and real "say" in the case.

It is the obligation of the attorney concerned to efficiently and quickly determine whether there is an actionable, good case. Medical malpractice cases are very expensive to go through, they are complex and can be a high risk for recovery and frequently involve the personal "attachment" of the client.

A detailed medical history dealing with the hospitals and physicians who gave the treatment should be obtained by the attorney prior to the filing of a medical malpractice case. A written summary highlighting all medical treatment received which should include symptoms, conversations with medical professionals and the type of treatment given is required. The attorney will initiate steps to procure all the relevant records from the hospitals or the doctors as a proof of medical negligence.

Normally a medical expert will be appointed by the attorney to determine the extent of medical malpractice. The expert should have been certified in the relevant medical field by the concerned board since he has to appear as a witness to answer questions and give an expert opinion.

With reasonable certainity, the medical expert should conclude that the cause of the damage to the patient is due to the action or inaction of the physician after investigating the procedures thoroughly.