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Medical malpractice happens when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or exclusion, harms a patient in their care. The negligence might be the result of errors in diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care or general health management. To be considered medical malpractice under the law, a claim must include these characteristics:
A violation of the standard of care. There are defined medical standards that are recognized by medical professionals as being acceptable medical treatment by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances. This is known as the standard of care. All patients have the right to expect that health care professionals will deliver care that follows these standards.
An injury was caused by the negligence. For a medical malpractice claim to be valid, it is not enough that a health care professional violated the standard of care. The patient must also prove that injury was caused that would not have occurred had the provider not been negligent. If there is an injury without negligence, or negligence that did not cause an injury, there is no case.
The injury resulted in significant damages. The patient must also show that significant damages resulted from an injury received due to the medical negligence. Examples include disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills.
Medical Malpractice by the Numbers
- 60 % Of medical malpractice patients are female.
- 770 Reports of foreign objects left inside patients over the last seven years.
- 93 % of medical malpractice cases are resolved before trial.
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