Doctors and other healthcare providers go through years of training to gain the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs. People defer to their medical opinions, and in most cases, this trust is justified.

However, just like everyone else, doctors make mistakes. When this happens, the consequences can be extremely serious and, sometimes, even fatal. If the mistake was made negligently, a patient who suffers, as a result, may have cause to sue for medical malpractice.

Defining negligence

The law generally defines negligence as failing to comply with one’s duty of care to the plaintiff. A person’s duty of care can vary based on the specific situation, the person’s qualifications and his or her relationship to the plaintiff. For example, a driver owes the public a duty of care to operate his or her vehicle with reasonable safety. A doctor treating a patient owes that patient a duty to provide treatment in line with generally accepted professional standards in the field.

Wrong diagnosis

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose happens when a doctor fails to correctly identify symptoms of a disease. This can lead to patients not receiving treatment in time, which allows the disease to progress and become harder or impossible to treat when caught. Misdiagnosis can lead to incorrect treatment, which can actively harm a person’s health.

Errors during surgery

Surgical errors are another common type of medical mistake. They can happen because the surgeon miscalculates or otherwise commits a misstep. Other causes include errors in the medical record, faulty hospital equipment or miscommunication among hospital staff.

Birth injuries

Birth injuries can occur as the result of mistakes such as failing to induce or a C-section when indications are present, failing to inform the patient of serious potential health concerns and mishandling of the delivery itself. Mothers can suffer from injuries due to various actions prior to and during the delivery, as well.

Did you suffer from malpractice

Not all bad outcomes arise from malpractice. Sometimes, surgeries go wrong or a disease goes unnoticed even when everyone involved does everything right. If you believe you or a loved one suffered from medical malpractice, consulting with a qualified attorney can give you the insight you need for handling your case.