Each year, many Americans either are misdiagnosed or receive a delayed diagnosis, have a doctor poorly perform a procedure on them or otherwise experience complications associated with a medical treatment or procedure.
Situations like these are so common, in fact, that the authors of one study published in 2013 referenced both cancer and heart disease as the top two leading causes of death in the United States. Medical malpractice ranked third on that list.
What's falls under the umbrella of "malpractice"
Before doctors can practice medicine, they're required to swear to uphold a certain standard of care in treating patients. The hope is that by having physicians take this "do no harm" oath, they will more carefully reflect upon the consequences of their actions before making decisions regarding patient care.
All doctors are also subject to providing a certain "standard of care" to those that they serve. If a patient's medical condition is misdiagnosed or worsens after an operation, then their treating doctor's actions (or lack thereof) will be compared against those that another physician given a similar set of circumstances would have taken in deciding negligence.
It's important to understand that just because an adverse event occurred such as an amputation or a patient's death, that doesn't mean that a doctor engaged in medical malpratice. In fact, it is possible for a negative outcome to occur without any impropriety having occurred. Doctors who deviate from a commonly understood standard of care are the only ones that expose themselves to be sued for medical malpractice.
Proving health care provider negligence
Doctors aren't the only ones who can be sued for medical malpractice. Nurses, hospitals and many other health care providers can be held liable for their actions.
Proving that a doctor or your medical team's negligence resulted in your injuries or a loved one's death is not easy to do. While a physician's apology may provide the necessary grounds for placing blame and quickly settling a lawsuit, cases are rarely so cut and dried.
Often times, expert witnesses have to brought in to review cases to see if medical malpractice indeed occurred. Once they indicate that it has, a Tucson attorney will generally advise his or her clients that their case warrants the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.