Medical Malpractice – What is it?

Written by: Attorney Kim Bouck

Medical malpractice is negligent care that causes a significant injury.  Negligent care is the doing or failing to do that which any other like healthcare provider would or would not do under same or similar circumstances.  The law requires that the acts of omission or commission directly cause or substantially contribute to a significant injury or a significant change in the outcome of the care.

There are frequently instances of negligent care, but not always a significant damage that is associated with the negligence.  Say, for example, a doctor orders a certain medication for a headache and the nurse gives you a different medication.  This is negligent care.  If, however, the headache goes away and you do not suffer any injury related to the administration of the incorrect medication there would not be a medical malpractice suit to pursue.    Likewise, if you go to the hospital with an appendicitis that goes undiagnosed, but you get to another hospital because of ongoing abdominal pain and they appropriately diagnose you with appendicitis and you have your appendix surgically removed then there is no medical malpractice claim for the missed diagnosis at the first hospital.

Sometimes the care is negligent and there are no damages but the negligence is so egregious that we recommend the instance be reported to the Department of Health also known as the Agency for Health Care Administration.  This can be done by making a call to the Agency or downloading the complaint form that is available on their website.  The number to call is 1-888-419-3456.

At Rue, Ziffra and Caldwell there is an attorney dedicated to the pursuit of medical malpractice claims and a registered nurse/licensed healthcare risk manager on staff to talk to you about your particular circumstance.  We offer free consultations and review of medical records to adequately assess the particulars of each case on an individual basis.

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