What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

When poor outcomes occur following a doctor or hospital visit, many wonder if they have a case for medical malpractice. Such may be the question when, for example, a newborn suffers a birth injury, or a patient learns that her doctor has failed to diagnose breast cancer at an earlier stage, or a surgical sponge has been left inside a body following an operation.

While preventable medical mistakes occur at an alarming rate, they may not always rise to the level of medical malpractice. However, when the error causes harm, in many cases a doctor, hospital or other medical personnel may be held liable, and responsible to pay damages to the victim or his or her family.  Consulting with experienced medical malpractice lawyers is important to determine whether you may have a claim.  

In order to be considered actionable medical malpractice, various factors must exist.

First, in order to be considered medical negligence, a doctor/patient relationship must exist. Based on this relationship, the doctor must act pursuant to a certain standard of care. This standard is often defined by other experts in the field, and generally defines the level of care expected by a doctor. The failure to meet this standard constitutes a “breach.” A breach may be something such as failing to perform expected tests, or to act quickly enough to resolve certain complications.

When a breach of care causes harm, especially a catastrophic injury or one with effects that last a lifetime, it may be possible to file a successful claim for medical negligence.

Medical malpractice can take a variety of forms. As such, if you have any questions, please contact the experienced Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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