Medical malpractice can arise out of many different circumstances. However, not every situation in which something goes wrong in a hospital or clinic is an example of medical malpractice.
The following are some general guidelines to give you a better idea of when your case is or is likely not malpractice:
When it might be malpractice:
- Negligence. Negligence occurs when a doctor provides care at a level below what a “reasonably competent” medical professional would provide in the same circumstance. Negligence may take a number of forms, including failure to diagnose a condition, an incorrect diagnosis, a failure to advise patients about the risk of a certain treatment and surgical errors committed during procedures. Not every mistake constitutes negligence, but egregious, avoidable mistakes often do.
- Recklessness. Occasionally, physicians behave recklessly on the job. Examples include working while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or doctors going outside of generally accepted medical practices to treat patients.
When it is probably not malpractice:
- Worsening conditions. Sometimes doctors are simply unable to help a patient get better, even when a condition is considered to be treatable. If the physician provided reasonable care and skill in carrying out treatment, he or she cannot be blamed for worsening conditions.
- Untreatable conditions. Doctors cannot be held liable for patient deaths or worsening conditions if the patient’s condition is generally deemed untreatable.
For more information and guidance on how to proceed with a potential medical malpractice lawsuit, contact the skilled San Diego attorneys at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire right away.