Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is an act or omission of a healthcare provider which deviates from expected standards of practice in the medical community and which causes injury to the patient.

Medical malpractice and medical negligence is the same thing. A plaintiff must prove that a healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, hospital, therapist or others) was negligent, in that they did not do what they were supposed to do, and that act or omission causes serious injury or death.

Negligence can either be an act of commission or omission. In other words, if a physician fails to do something that the standard of care requires or if the physician does something that the standard of care prohibits, both can be the basis of a medical negligence case. The standard of care refers to what other healthcare providers in the same or similar circumstances would do. It is not the standard of the most qualified physician nor is it the standard of the average physician since those of less than average skills can still meet the standard of care. In other words, for a plaintiff to be successful in a malpractice case, the plaintiff must show that the healthcare provider failed to provide the minimum that a patient had a right to expect. However, it is not enough that the healthcare provider was negligent. The plaintiff also has to prove that the negligence was the cause of the bad outcome or result.

It is also important to note that malpractice is never presumed. Malpractice cannot be presumed by the fact that a patient had a bad result. The plaintiff must always show, through expert medical testimony, that negligence occurred and the negligence was the cause of the bad outcome.

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