When you go to the doctor, emergency room, or other medical professional because you are injured or sick it is with the expectation that you will be healed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Doctors are human and do make mistakes; however, some medical errors are actually more than a mistake – they are the result of negligence on the part of the doctor or other healthcare provider. When a healthcare provider’s negligence results in a medical error that causes harm to the patient, the patient may have the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Although the term “medical malpractice” does not have a single, universally accepted, definition, one commonly used definition is as follows:
“professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient”
Though we typically think of doctors when we contemplate the issue of medical malpractice, others in the healthcare industry can also commit medical malpractice, including hospitals, nurses, dentists, chiropractors, and nursing homes.
Not all mistakes made by a healthcare provider amount to medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can be the result of an act or an omission. If a doctor leaves a foreign object inside a surgical site during surgery, that act could form the basis of a medical malpractice claim. On the other hand, if a doctor fails to diagnose a serious medical condition, that omission could also be considered medical malpractice.
The other important element of a medical malpractice claim is the requirement that the act or omission “falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community.” In other words, would another doctor under the same circumstances have done something different? Would another healthcare provider, given the same set of facts and circumstances, have committed the same act or omission? The purpose is to judge a healthcare provider by standards used in the healthcare community. In a medical malpractice lawsuit it is usually necessary to find an expert witness – another doctor — who will testify that the care provided by the doctor/healthcare provider in your situation fell below the accepted standards.
If you believe that you were injured by a medical error that amounts to medical malpractice, or you lost a loved one as a result of medical malpractice, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney right away. The law does allows the victim, or surviving family member, of medical malpractice to pursue compensation from the negligent healthcare provider; however, the law also limits the amount of time within which a medical malpractice lawsuit must be brought.
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