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Understanding Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice is a legal term given to incidents of professional negligence or substandard care by medical professionals during treatment of their patients. 

“The term does not mean that all unfavorable medical outcomes can be litigated. Rather, it applies to cases when a doctor or other provider of medical care deviates from widely accepted standards, causing personal injury or death, “ said Personal Injury Attorney, James Johnson ESQ, founder and head attorney at Johnson Attorneys Group , adding that “medical malpractice generally encompasses a number of different types of cases that result in personal injury. “


In medical malpractice incidents, a lawsuit may be filed to prove that care did not follow normal protocols of treatment. In some cases, care was provided incorrectly. In other cases, the medical professional failed to provide standard care. Medical malpractice can lead to the need for additional surgeries, disability or loss of life. Common medical errors include medication errors, surgery on the wrong body part, hospital acquired infections and poorly coordinated care. These issues can result in serious consequences for patients or result in death. The problem is so severe that such respected medical institutions as the Johns Hopkins Medical Center has named medical error the third most common cause of the death in the United States.


Hospitals treat a wide range of medical problems and perform many different types of procedures. These facilities may do complex surgeries, provide radiation therapy for cancer treatment, do laboratory analysis and provide many different types of diagnostic tests. Mistakes can arise in any area of these procedures.

Although hospitals are required to follow strict regulations, the rapid pace and high turnover of patients often results in failure of protocols that affect patients negatively.


When these clinics first opened in the 1970s, they just did simple procedures such as cataract removals and biopsies.

Since then, their use has exploded--in 2006 alone, 14.9 million people were served by freestanding ambulatory surgery centers which have gone toward more complicated minor surgeries, such as hernias, intervertebral disc disorders, hemorrhoids, diverticula of the intestines and biopsy and removal of neoplasms.

Even though the clinics must follow most of the same strict regulations as hospitals, some still express concern over lack of physician backup, fast transfers to hospitals if needed, and cleanliness, etc. Some even wonder if a high-risk individual might even be better off in a fully-staffed hospital, even for a minor procedure.

Occasional problems occur that may lead to serious injury or death. Individuals may require admission to full-service hospitals for further treatment; remember the case of Joan Rivers?


“Medical errors, unfortunately, occur routinely in every type of medical facility, sometimes no matter how strict the regulations or how experienced the staff,” said Johnson, “If you suspect that that there has been some variation in standard care, the first priority, of course, is to seek proper care and get back to health.

He continued: “Then secure all medical records to ensure you have evidence of what treatment was administered. Try to have your records as detailed as possible, including conversations, phone calls and questions you may have had the the medical staff. Your attorney in detail and he or she will help you determine the appropriate course of action.”

He also added that, since state laws vary on procedures for medical malpractice suits, it may be required to file a complaint with a state medical complaint board or go through other steps in order to file your lawsuit. 

Your attorney will help you determine the appropriate course of action and will support you through the process.