What is medical malpractice?

The definition of medical malpractice which is generally accepted is substandard treatment at the hands of a physician, the medical care facility or other healthcare professional which directly resulted in damage, either physically or economically to the patient. Medical malpractice attorneys in Iowa City IA area will tell you that “substandard” care is a violation of what is considered as normal medical practice. There are three issues that must be present in a medical malpractice action:

  • Liability

  • Damage

  • A direct casual link

To even consider medical malpractice it has to be established that there was an existing professional relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient. This is never hard to prove; however, proving that the care given was substandard can be infinitely more difficult. Inadequate care in and by itself is not malpractice whereas substandard care is.

There must be injury, suffering or economic damage present and proven to be a direct result of negligence before malpractice lawyers can progress the case. Medical procedures, surgery in particular has an inherent risk associated with them and an outcome less than expected is not necessarily malpractice.

Malpractice exists in many forms. Failure in diagnoses, errors in prescribing medication, surgical errors, miscalculations with anesthetics and the failure to provide the proper follow-up care are all examples of malpractice.

Medical malpractice attorneys in Iowa City IA will often find it more difficult to bring suit against an employee of a medical facility than the surgeon. Often, some staff in the hospital is provided by private contractors and if this case, it is the contractor that is named as a party to the suit, not the hospital.

HMOs often restrict the level of care they provide as a way to save money. The result of this is that they easily become the targets of malpractice suits. HMOs can be considered guilty of medical malpractice if the care they do not provide proper care or they approve results in serious injury or even death to the patient who was denied proper care. Most medical malpractice suits are very difficult but none more so than when suing an HMO. It is often hard to determine who provides the health insurance or even to determine if the person is even eligible for care.

Medical malpractice attorneys in Iowa City IA at times will bring a class action suit on behalf of a number of parties affected by the same negligence. There can be thousands of plaintiffs to a class action suit against a drug manufacturer for example. Should the suit be successful, the plaintiffs are paid equally from the award after all legal fees and costs have been taken into account.

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