What Everybody Should Know About Medical Negligence

Medical negligence occurs frequently in Phoenix, as well as throughout the United States. It often goes unreported because the patient or his or her family doesn’t understand what constitutes medical negligence and medical malpractice.

Medical negligence is related to medical malpractice, but isn’t the exact same thing. In its simplest form, medical negligence is a one facet of medical malpractice. Negligence in existence by itself doesn’t warrant a medical malpractice claim. However, when negligence is thought to be a legal cause of a patient’s injury with a resulting harm, it offers a good case for a medical malpractice claim.

If you or someone you know believes your doctor or medical staff may have been negligent, here are some things to know before considering a malpractice suit.

How is Medical Negligence Defined?

[quotes align="center" author=""]Any time a doctor, nurse or other medical staff makes a medical error, it may be considered medical negligence when that error causes injury and harm to the patient. From misdiagnosing a patient to prescribing the wrong medication to surgical errors, negligence in the medical field comes in many forms.[/quotes]

Medical Negligence to Medical Malpractice

There are three factors that generally lead to how medical negligence becomes medical malpractice. These are:

  • The medical professional was negligent.
  • The medical professional’s negligence caused the injury.
  • The injury led to specific harm.

The physical harm suffered may include physical pain, a medical condition worsening, unexpected or unreasonable complications, mental anguish, needing additional medical treatment, lost work, lost ability to earn income, and additional medical bills. Most practicing physicians carry medical malpractice insurance in the event of negligence and unintentional harm or injury.

Medical Negligence by the Numbers

While not all cases of medical negligence lead to serious injury or wrongful death, many of them do. According to Medical News Today, approximately 160,000 deaths each year in the United States are caused by negligence within diagnostics alone.

Errors in diagnostics is one of the most dangerous areas to make a medical mistake. In the last 25 years, more than 350,000 medical malpractice claims have been reported due to diagnostic errors. This doesn't even begin to cover negligence and malpractice from other causes. For malpractice suits in general, doctors are served about as many as 19,000 suits a year on average.

How to Choose a Malpractice Lawyer

If you believe you or a loved one was exposed to medical negligence, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to determine if it has the legal causation and harm to constitute malpractice. It is important when researching an attorney to represent your case to look for a specialist who is competent in medical malpractice. They must show comprehensive medical knowledge and be willing to go to trial if needed.