Medical negligence is defined as the failure to act with the same amount of care that a medical professional would have acted with in the same circumstances.
Medical malpractice is a legal cause of action that occurs when a medical- or health care professional deviates from the standards of his or her profession, which action or omission results in the injury or death of a patient.
Negligence takes various forms and degrees of severity. The degree of severity will determine how much a victim can possibly win in compensation.
The following four elements which constitutes negligence must be present in order to prove medical malpractice:
- health-care professionals or health-care providers had a duty to provide health care to a specific patient and to provide such patient with reasonable care in their treatment;
- Health-care professionals or medical facilities failed to provide the standard of medical care;
- This failure to provide the standard of medical care resulted in harm or injury of the patient
- The patient must prove that he/she suffered damages (harm or loss)
Examples of medical malpractice:
- Incorrect or delayed diagnosis;
- Inappropriate treatment of a condition;
- Medication errors such as administering the incorrect or wrong dose of medication;
- Surgical errors, including the cutting of unintended tissues, leaving medical instruments behind during a procedure, surgery on the wrong site.
- Nursing staff failing to communicate new patient symptoms, concerns or complaints to doctors and other medical professionals.
- Anesthesia errors;
- Errors in interpreting laboratory- or test results;
- Childbirth injuries.
Compiled by Ingrid Meyer