Medical Malpractice Basics

When doctors make mistakes, the impact on their patients can be catastrophic. While most doctors typically provide their patients with the highest standard of care, there are times when things go terribly wrong. Medical malpractice cases are a type of personal injury case where a patient sues his or her doctor (and sometimes the nurses too) for improper or negligent medical care. An act of medical malpractice can arise out of a medical practitioner’s misdiagnosis of a disease, a bungled surgery, misuse of a machine or instrument, or even treating a patient without the patient’s permission.

More Than Just Not Good Treatment.

To rise to the level of medical malpractice, however, the doctor’s actions must constitute more than just not good treatment or care. The patient must be able to prove that the doctor was negligent, in other words, that what the doctor did or failed to do, fell below the standard of care for the medical profession.

Expert Testimony.

In most cases, to prove that a doctor’s treatment fell below the acceptable standard of care for doctors in the community where the alleged malpractice occurred, expert testimony will be required. A medical expert (usually another doctor) qualified in the same area of medicine as the defendant doctor, will have to testify to establish not only what the proper standard of care was, but that the defendant doctor fell below that standard. It can very often be difficult to find a doctor who is willing to testify to another doctor’s negligence.

Problems Proving Medical Malpractice Cases.

In addition to getting expert testimony, there are other factors that make proving a medical malpractice case difficult. Establishing malpractice can be difficult because doctors are often the ones who write the medical reports that form the basis for the lawsuit. It is not unheard of for health care providers to frame their reports in such a way so as to protect someone who was negligent.

The law has legal principles designed to deal with these situations. Nevertheless, medical malpractice cases can often require careful investigation, preparation and planning to be successful.

Speak to an Attorney.

If you or someone you love has been injured, misdiagnosed or treated without your permission, contact us. We are experienced personal injury attorneys and we can help. We have offices in Washington and throughout Oregon. We offer free consultations, reasonable fees, and are committed to our clients. To set up an appointment, call us toll free at: 1-800-682.9568 or contact us through our website.