Mistakes happen, even with experienced health care providers and in critical situations when your health and well being are on the line. However, not every time a doctor makes a mistake does a patient have a case for medical malpractice with a legal financial settlement.

Medical malpractice involves true negligence. That means a medical professional or care facility didn’t meet the standard of care expected and causes injury or death to the patient. Unfortunately, according to the American Medical Association, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Examples of medical malpractice

Some examples of medical malpractice and negligence include the following:

  • a patient with a head injury not being monitored for signs of a concussion or bleeding in the brain
  • complications at birth as the result of improper use of forceps, vacuum extraction or negligent care during delivery
  • a nurse or nursing assistant failing to sanitize medical equipment that is used on a patient, which results in infection
  • a dentist failing to treat a tooth infection and the infection spreads through the patient’s body
  • an inadvertent laceration or infection caused by a surgeon’s improper surgical techniques or leaving surgical instruments inside the body
  • neglecting the standard of care in a diagnosis a life-threating illness, such as cancer

Evaluating the standard of care

With each medical malpractice case, how the physician or hospital didn’t meet the standard of care is evaluated. Meeting the standard of care means that another medical provider would have done the same treatment or diagnostic tests as the provider in question. Some healthcare groups have clinical practice guidelines for certain diagnoses—specific treatment plans to follow. If a healthcare professional met those guidelines, even if they are minimum guidelines, then the standard of care is met.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help determine if your injury, illness or your loved one’s death might rise to the level of medical malpractice. Patient safety and proper care always should be a healthcare provider’s top priority. Highlighting a healthcare provider’s medical malpractice can help prevent care gaps in the future.