Medical Malpractice Lawyer Harrisonburg, VA
It’s a common misconception that any unfortunate medical outcome will result in a malpractice claim. Doctors try and fail to save lives or improve patient outcomes every day, but this isn’t malpractice. While it’s true that many malpractice claims are asserted in these cases, there are specific requirements before a court will find that true malpractice has occurred. What are the components of medical malpractice?
Failing to Adhere to a Standard of Care
Medical professionals are held to a higher standard of care than others, both in their actions and what they may fail to do. While “good Samaritan” laws protect ordinary citizens who may try to help someone at the scene of an accident and fail, a medical professional is expected to maintain a standard of care which is consistent with his or her education, training, and abilities. Again, this may take the form of things they do while conducting medical care and things they fail to do.
For example, if a doctor were to fail to recommend a course of treatment, such as chemotherapy for a cancer patient, and it turns out that the patient would have benefited from this treatment, this would be a failure to provide a reasonable standard of care. Or if a nurse injected a patient with the wrong drug, this would also be failing to adhere to a reasonable standard of care.
Significant Injuries Must Arise to Constitute Malpractice
While a medical professional may make an error or omission as described in the previous section, it is not considered malpractice if no significant injury results. For example, if a nurse injected saline instead of morphine and the mistake was discovered in an hour or two, there would not likely be a problem that would be considered a significant injury to the patient, therefore no malpractice.
There Must Also Be Significant Damages
Because medical malpractice is often difficult to prove, and a resulting legal action will often involve several hours of expert testimony and other expenses, the damages from medical malpractice must be significant before it is feasible to bring an action. A patient might be injured in some way, but the extent of the economic damages might not rise to a level which made malpractice litigation a reasonable proposition.
All of the above considerations are, of course, subjective, and each case is different. If you suspect that you were the victim of medical malpractice, you should consult a medical malpractice lawyer in Harrisonburg, VA from MartinWren, P.C. who is experienced in medical malpractice cases.