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Medical Malpractice or Just a Bad Outcome?

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What is medical malpractice? Generally medical malpractice, also know as medical negligence, occurs when a physician or medical professional fails to practice within the realm of accepted medical standards. In English, this means that a doctor or care provider failed to do what a reasonable care provider would have done or in the alternative did something that the care provider should not have done under like or similar circumstances.

Some examples of medical negligence claims may include: failure to diagnose, or misdiagnosis of, a disease; failure to provide medically appropriate treatment for a disease or medical condition; unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed disease; surgical error; incorrect prescription or overdose of medication; and failure to obtain a patients informed consent to a medical procedure. In a medical negligence action there may not only be questions of physician care but also nursing care, and even administrative issues; for example, where records maintained by a hospital are lost, altered or not properly maintained.

Strangely, while medical mistakes occur in this country at an alarming rate, very few claims are pursued by the injured victims. I think in part because consumers allow their doctors to convince them that acts of malpractice are simply bad outcomes and/or risks of the procedures undertaken, and part because people are under the misconception that if you file a medical malpractice case, you are somehow part of the problem of the so call “frivolous lawsuit” culture.

David Studdert, associate professor of law and public health at the Harvard School for Public Health recently co-authored a study which has revealed “

findings [that] cast doubt on [that] view by showing that most malpractice claims involve medical error and serious injury, and that claims with merit are far more likely to be paid than claims without merit.”

Medical malpractice law suits provide injured victims of negligence with a remedy in an attempt to make them whole in order to put them back to where they were had the medical care providers acted appropriately. The burden of the wrongdoing should not be shifted from the wrongdoer to the victim.

As a consumer you have a choice: you can protect your rights and investigate concerns of medical malpractice by retaining counsel and obtaining an independent determination of whether or not your physician has acted appropriately, or you can give up your rights and allow yourself to be a victim not once but two times over; First as the unwitting recipient of an injury caused by a physicians failure to do his or her job and second by falling prey to the societal bias created by campaigns from the medical community and insurance industry for the selfserving purposes of protecting their reputations and profit respectively.