What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Many patients find themselves wondering what constitutes medical malpractice? Here, a group of doctors examines an xray

When you visit the hospital, you never expect to leave in worse condition than you arrived. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals are not immune to mistakes. Although there are checks and balances in place to ensure most mistakes are harmless, some mistakes can result in a claim for medical malpractice against a healthcare professional, depending on the circumstances. Let’s take a closer look.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a broad term for any error by a healthcare professional that violates the standard of care and causes injury to the patient. The injury may be caused by an act of improper treatment or by omission, meaning no treatment was provided when it should have been.

Common hospital errors include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Prescribing patients the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
  • Operating on the wrong part of the body
  • Operating on the wrong side of the body
  • Leaving instruments or objects inside the patient after surgery
  • Bedsores
  • Staph infections

When Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case?

Not every mistake by a healthcare provider can be the basis for a medical malpractice case. Two conditions must be met in order for a patient to bring a medical malpractice case against a physician or other health care provider: the physician or health care provider must have deviated from the appropriate standard of care and the deviation must have resulted in direct harm to the patient.

Here are a few examples of situations that may meet the requirements for medical malpractice.

Injuries From Medical Negligence

In a medical negligence case, the patient must prove that his or her injury was the direct result of the physician’s inattentiveness or carelessness. The patient must also prove that the injury would not have occurred had it not been for the actions of the physician.

Doctor Deviated From Standard of Care

The law and the medical profession both recognize that there are standards of care that must be adhered to by doctors. Violating these standards of care may constitute medical malpractice or negligence if the violation caused harm to the patient.

Considerable Suffering or Damage

In order for a medical malpractice lawsuit to be successful, the patient must demonstrate that the physician’s negligent actions resulted in significant damages. Damages from medical malpractice may include:

  • Disabling injury
  • Loss of income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Financial hardship

Because building a medical malpractice lawsuit is a considerable cost in and of itself, it may not be financially wise to pursue a case of medical negligence where the possible reward is not substantial enough to cover the damages.

Patient Did Not Give Informed Consent

Physicians must inform their patients of all risks involved with treatment or procedures. Informed consent must be given before moving forward because the patient may choose not to have the procedure or treatment after being informed of the potential risks.

Building a Medical Malpractice Case

It is easy for patients to wonder, “Was that medical malpractice?” every time they believe their physician made an error. An experienced attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances around your injury and determine if medical malpractice took place. If your attorneys move forward, expect them to begin collecting your medical records and interviewing experts to determine whether the physician or other healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.


Contact Zevan Davidson Roman today.

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