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When is a poor medical outcome a case of medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

Medical treatment is not always successful. Sometimes, a condition has progressed too far before doctors begin interventions, and therefore a full recovery is unlikely. Other times, people may have an allergic reaction or other adverse response to treatment, such as the development of severe side effects.

Those who experience a poor outcome after medical care often want someone to blame. They may think that the doctor who provided their care is at fault. Typically, medical professionals are not responsible for every unfavorable patient outcome. They cannot control a patient’s adherence to a treatment plan or the side effects they experience when taking a medication.

However, both medical facilities and individual care providers can potentially be held liable for adverse outcomes if malpractice causes or contributes to them. Medical malpractice is a pressing issue that affects thousands of people every year in the United States. How does someone determine if a poor medical outcome was simply bad luck or a case of medical malpractice?

Malpractice involves unprofessional conduct or negligence

The outcome of a case is not what determines whether the situation involves malpractice or not. Instead, it is the conduct of the healthcare provider that matters the most. Negligence or a provable violation of best practices is usually necessary for a viable medical malpractice claim.

If a patient had a poor outcome because a doctor didn’t do something that most physicians would recognize as necessary, such as performing chemical tests to verify the presence of a pathogen, that could constitute malpractice. So could any other major violation of current best practices.

The right way for a physician to handle a patient will depend on the type of medicine they practice and the patient’s history. Therefore, is often necessary to get an outside opinion from another medical professional to see if there were major mistakes or oversights that affected the outcome of someone’s case. If other medical professionals can pinpoint errors or omissions that directly impacted the standard of care a patient received, the situation may constitute medical malpractice. Those hoping to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit usually need evidence both of poor choices on the part of a physician and actual losses related to the incident.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, when circumstances warrant such action, can help people recoup additional treatment costs, lost wages and other financial consequences incurred because of unprofessional medical care.