Medical malpractice is an extremely serious allegation, and one most attorneys don’t take lightly. Some people throw around the words as though it happens all the time. They consider anything malpractice: rude staff, poor bedside manner, or bad news.
Other people want to pretend malpractice never happens. As a medical malpractice lawyer Memphis TN turns to in their hardest times, I can tell you it does. Medical malpractice can have devastating and even lethal consequences.
So how do you know if something qualifies as medical malpractice? The answer differs somewhat state-to-state, but in my home state of Tennessee, a few things have to be true:
Did the Medical Procedure Cause Actual Damage?
Medical procedures can come with a lot of stress, fear, and even disappointment. But medical malpractice goes beyond mental and emotional frustration. It needs to have caused real, and usually severe, damage. This means whatever happened wasn’t just an annoyance. You have to be able to prove physical harm.
So as just one example: If the doctor gave you the wrong diagnosis, but then you got the right one and things worked out, it wouldn’t be considered malpractice. However, if the wrong diagnosis causes you to undergo a serious procedure that leaves you in much worse condition, you may have a malpractice case.
Did the Doctor or Hospital Act Outside a Reasonable Standard of Care?
Medical malpractice juries look at what other doctors would do in the same situation. Would many other medical professionals make the same call under the circumstances? If so, the doctor’s actions are considered a reasonable standard of care; and if not, juries may see it as a red flag.
Certain behavior almost always qualifies as outside the reasonable standard of care. For example, doctors should never operate under the influence. And they should make sure to operate on the right person and the correct part of the body. These rules may seem obvious – and they are. That’s why they would automatically be considered outside the reasonable standard of care. They also represent some of the most extreme examples of medical malpractice I’ve seen in practicing this area of law for decades.
Finding Out If It’s Medical Malpractice
If you have questions about whether you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, you can speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A qualified, respected lawyer can look at your case and let you know how to proceed.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Darrell Castle & Associates, PLLC for their insight into medical malpractic