What Is the Difference Between Negative Treatment Outcome and Malpractice?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on April 28, 2021
Not all medical treatments produce positive results. In some cases, a patient’s condition may worsen despite receiving care from a physician. Some of these negative outcomes occur due to acts of negligence, such as failing to adequately diagnose a condition or order the proper diagnostic tests. In some cases, however, negative treatment outcomes are inevitable and unavoidable. If you suffer a worsening condition due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be eligible to file a malpractice lawsuit against him or her.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Healthcare professionals must meet a certain standard of care when providing treatment to their patients. Unfortunately, not all providers treat patients with the care and respect they deserve. Medical malpractice refers to a medical professional’s failure to uphold this standard, causing harm to a patient in the process.
Any medical professional can commit an act of malpractice, including physicians, nurses, surgeons, radiologists, and obstetricians. However, malpractice only occurs when a healthcare provider is negligent, or commits an act or omission that deviates from the accepted standard of care. Common examples of medical malpractice include the following.
- Failure to order the proper diagnostic tests for a patient
- Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong dosage
- Failure to monitor a baby’s heartbeat during labor and delivery
- Failure to diagnose a condition or misdiagnosis
- Surgical errors, such as wrong site surgery or unnecessary surgery
- Misreading or ignoring test results and imaging scans
- Inadequate follow-up instructions or aftercare
Negative Medical Outcomes versus Medical Malpractice
There are certain situations where you may have a negative medical outcome, but a healthcare provider or facility is not at fault. In medical malpractice claims, Missouri courts typically examine whether or not a healthcare provider’s actions deviated from what a similarly trained and reasonably competent professional would have done under the same circumstances.
You may not have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit if you have a rare, untreatable illness, or if you are not compliant with a doctor’s instructions. For example, you may have a rare illness that is difficult to diagnose. While your physician may be unable to diagnose your condition before it worsens, another doctor may have had trouble identifying the condition as well. This situation would be an example of a negative medical outcome.
On the other hand, say that you visit a doctor with telltale symptoms of lung cancer, such as unexpected weight loss and blood in your saliva. A reasonably trained and competent doctor would recognize these symptoms and order the proper diagnostic tests. If your physician dismisses your symptoms as another condition, such as asthma, and does not examine you for lung cancer, he or she commits an act of malpractice. You could hold him or her liable for your worsening condition and resulting damages, such as additional medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Benefits of an Attorney for a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you are unsure whether your case rises to the level of malpractice, it is best to speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will have experience handling hundreds of medical malpractice claims and will have the ability to identify whether or not your case qualifies for a lawsuit.
Hiring an attorney to represent your claim can provide you with several benefits, including access to expert witnesses who can validate your case and the ability to calculate the full value of your claim. As soon as possible after your lawsuit, contact a Missouri medical malpractice attorney to discuss your optimal path to maximum compensation.