It is infuriating when you or a family member suffer harm because of the incompetence or recklessness of a healthcare professional. After all, you trust doctors, nurses, and other providers to take care of you and help you feel better.
However, if you end your treatment course as badly off, or worse, than when you began, that is not necessarily evidence that medical malpractice has taken place. To successfully sue a provider for medical malpractice, you need to be able to prove to the court that he or she did something wrong during treatment and you (or a loved one) were hurt as a result.
Situations That Are Not Medical Malpractice
Patients’ conditions can worsen despite the doctors’ best efforts. Sometimes, things go wrong even when the doctor does everything right. Therefore, worsened symptoms, complications from surgery, a decline in condition, or patient death are not evidence of malpractice in and of themselves.
To qualify as medical malpractice, you have to show a direct causal link between the doctor’s behavior and the harm that you suffered. For example, a complication of postsurgical infection is not evidence of medical malpractice by itself. However, if you can show that the doctor did not scrub up properly prior to surgery, that may be evidence of medical malpractice.
Criteria That Must Be Met To Prove Medical Malpractice
A successful medical malpractice case requires you to demonstrate that you have experienced significant damages as a result of the injury. To return to the previous example, if you develop a postsurgical infection but you recover completely with a course of antibiotics, you may not be able to recover damages if the results do not have a long-term negative effect on your life.
Additionally, you must prove that the provider’s actions represented a violation of the standard of care. In other words, he or she did something reckless, negligent, or inappropriate, and you suffered harm as a result.
Again, there has to be a clear causal relationship between the harm you suffered and the doctor’s behavior. If the doctor acted inappropriately but you were not injured as a result, you do not have grounds for a medical malpractice suit, although you may still report the behavior to the provider’s superiors for disciplinary action.
Sometimes the line between medical malpractice and a mere unfavorable outcome can be difficult to discern. A medical malpractice lawyer may be able to explain your legal options to you. Contact a law office for more information or to schedule a consultation.