How do I know if I have a medical malpractice claim?

Not all medical mistakes have catastrophic outcomes. Medical malpractice/negligence is an issue that many people do not know much about. No one likes the thought of the professionals they rely on for life-sustaining care and treatment causing them more harm instead of good. That is precisely what happens every day in medical facilities and outpatient treatment centers across New York and the country.

The news and media often report on prominent cases, leaving some of the public unaware of how their ignorance increases the risk of them becoming medical malpractice victims. It is vital for patients to consider the possibility of negligence and mistakes made in the delivery of their care, so they can take measures to prevent them. Here are a few factors that successful malpractice claims have.

Harm is severe and impactful

It is not enough for patients to suffer a minor illness or laceration before potentially having a valid malpractice claim. Their medical team’s mistakes must result in severe injuries that have life-altering consequences. Plaintiffs must have evidence to establish a clear connection between their physician’s or health care staff's negligence and their situation.

Injuries are a direct outcome of negligence

Victims must also prove their conditions would not have occurred if their medical team responded properly. For example, an otherwise healthy patient undergoes an appendectomy. Removing the appendix is a relatively safe and straightforward procedure. However, for some reason or another, the surgeon did not remove a surgical tool like a sponge, scalpel, etc. The patient develops a severe blood infection known as sepsis, causing him to have a portion of his intestines removed. The patient developed sepsis from a retained surgical tool. In the medical community, this is known as a never-event, meaning it should never happen.

Health care provider did not follow proper standard of care

Victims or their loved ones must be able to show that their medical team acted in a manner such that they did not deliver the proper standard of care. When doctors and medical staff do not adhere to specific practicing criteria, laws and responsibilities, they are acting negligently and are a danger to everyone.

It is essential for patients to realize the difference between an actual medical negligence/malpractice claim and unrealistic expectations. Anytime they go to the doctor or any medical and dental professional, they should pay close attention to how these professionals treat them. If they experience an outcome that causes extreme pain, suffering and distress, they may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

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