When Is a Mistake Medical Malpractice?

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Hospitals are complex institutions that are home to hundreds of professionals working together and across disciplines to expand our knowledge of medicine and heal people of their illnesses.

But every hospital is also made up of everyday human beings who make mistakes. Though accidents in the medical industry are unfortunate, and sometimes tragic, they’re unavoidable. When accidents that could have been avoided cause harm to patients, Indiana has medical malpractice laws in place to protect victims and compensate them for their pain.

The distinction between mistake and malpractice can often be a fine line. Medical malpractice is a complicated, contentious, and nuance-ridden legal topic, and it is best navigated with the help of a medical malpractice attorney. That said, it will save victims of medical mistakes time and money to determine whether their situation is malpractice or not.

When It’s Not Malpractice

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It’s encouraging to receive a promising prognosis when you begin treatment for an injury or illness, but keep in mind that your doctor’s goal after treatment isn’t a legally binding contract with your health. That is, if you don’t recover to the extent your doctor had hoped, there’s no reason to sue him or her for medical malpractice.

In other cases, patients can actually become sicker through treatment, whether because of an unforeseen medical condition or deteriorating health. Even in these cases, malpractice is still rarely the cause. The fact is, people don’t always recover fully from an injury or illness, and the human body is complicated — it doesn’t always respond to medication the way doctors expect it to.

Medical staff also aren’t usually guilty of malpractice when they admit there’s nothing more to do for a patient. Though medical technology and knowledge has progressed tremendously in the modern age, not every condition is treatable. Even if they started out with an optimistic treatment plan, physicians can’t be sued for running out of ways to help. Sadly, some illnesses or conditions are terminal, and no amount of reasonable care can change that.

In general, doctors aren’t out to “get” people by performing substandard medical care. A vast majority of practicing physicians genuinely care about their patients and have made it their job to heal them to the best of their ability.

When It Could Be Malpractice

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We’ve talked before about examples of negligent medical behavior and the appropriate standard of care that patients deserve. Suffice to say that medical malpractice only occurs in situations where a patient was injured as a direct result of a medical professional’s negligence.

Depending on the situation in which the malpractice allegedly occurred, the standard of care shifts to include different criteria. In medical malpractice cases, professionals on both the patient’s side and the doctor’s side will submit evidence that the doctor did or did not act according to the appropriate standard of care.

This part of the trial can involve highly technical medical and legal conversations, which is why it’s valuable to consult with a dedicated medical malpractice attorney before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If a medical professional falls well below the accepted standard of care for his or her given specialty, they may be considered guilty of recklessness, which is blatant medical malpractice caused by obvious negligence. For example, a doctor who prescribes lethal-level doses of medication to patients may be considered reckless.

Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys on Your Side

Falling victim to a physician’s negligence while receiving medical treatment is like being kicked when you’re down. However, not every unfortunate circumstance is automatically medical malpractice. Though tricky to navigate, medical malpractice laws exist to protect patients from legitimate cases of negligence; nothing more, nothing less.

To save you time and money, call the medical malpractice lawyers at Hensley Legal Group. We’ll help you determine whether your case is something we can help with, and your conversation with us is totally free.