Medical malfeasance is one of those terrible occurrences in life where everyone loses.
Whether you know it as medical malpractice, medical malfeasance, or even medical negligence, all of these talk about the same situation, where a medical professional failed their patient by providing substandard treatment that caused them harm.
With a range of 15,000 to 19,000 medical malpractice suits filled on an annual basis in the U.S. alone, it’s not a problem that we can ignore. If you’re (or a loved one) dealing with medical malfeasance, but you’re unfamiliar with the whole process, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep on reading for our thorough breakdown of what medical malfeasance entails, the five different ways it can happen, and the conditions that the case needs to meet in order to be considered a medical malpractice case.
What Is Medical Malfeasance?
As we’ve lightly discussed before, medical malfeasance is the same as medical negligence and medical malpractice. The main driving force behind the law is the expectation that medical professionals of all stripes should follow a specific medical standard of care.
Since they’re being trusted to care for people’s lives, they should be taking their work seriously, which is why this standard of care was created in the first place. Simply put, this standard of care asks health care professionals to perform on the same level of care that another professional would also perform.
Basically, by giving the same training and experience, two medical professionals who are taught the standard should perform on the same level, and provide the same amount of care.
If a medical practitioner was to provide negligent care or treatment, the repercussions for the patient can be rather severe, spanning chronic pain, injury, or even death.
This brings us to situations that are considered medical malpractice in the eyes of the law if they meet the following factors.
- The health care quality was lower than what would be offered from another practitioner
- The victim must have experienced an injury and can prove that an error (or neglect) from the medical practitioner is the cause
- The damage is longlasting and has a multitude of consequences for the victim, like chronic pain, hardship, loss of income, or even disability
Of course, this is a simplification of the legalese required to have a better understanding of whether your case can be considered medical malpractice or not. You’ll need to consult with personal injury lawyers to know for sure.
The Different Forms of Medical Malfeasance
Now that we have a better idea of what can be considered medical malfeasance, thus falls under the umbrella of personal injury, let’s explore the six different ways that medical malpractice takes.
- Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis
Needless to say, getting the right diagnosis is one of the most essential steps taken to ensure a patient’s care.
Based on the proper diagnosis, the medical professional can create the right treatment plan. Unfortunately, if this first step was incorrect, or wasn’t diagnosed at all, you’ll have a patient who could suffer greatly.
This can lead to personal injury, and in extreme cases, to death.
- Prescription Errors
Similar to misdiagnosis in its effects, dealing with medication errors can cause numerous problems. And, the patient isn’t a trained medical professional, therefore, they won’t be able to tell whether they’re getting the right medication and dose or not.
It’s a type of medical malpractice that can happen in multiple ways. The doctor might write the wrong prescription, or the hospital staff might give out an incorrect dosage.
Also, it might be the pharmacist who incorrectly fills the medication.
- Surgical Mistakes
Whenever a patient makes it to the operation theatre, it’s understood that there’s a bit of risk.
However, if it was a mistake that happened during (or after) the surgery due to negligence or maliciousness, it’s treated as medical malpractice.
After all, a simple mistake can lead to medical complications, which can cause chronic pain and death. In most cases, you’ll find that surgical error medical malfeasance claims are the result of poor planning before the scheduled operation, or the surgeon was operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
During the surgery itself, here are the common types of errors that can happen:
- Operating on the wrong person
- Performing the wrong procedure
- Operating on the wrong body part or area
- Making an incorrect incision
After the surgery, you get to see different types of errors like:
- Failing to provide the patient with the proper instructions for their postoperative recovery
- Ignoring the postoperative procedures
- Administering the wrong medication or dosages
These errors most commonly occur before the patient leaves the hospital.
- Medical Errors That Cause Infection
Getting an infection after a procedure is truly horrific. After all, patients leave themselves in the care of their medical professionals with the understanding that they’re not at risk from the treatments they’re supposed to receive.
Unfortunately, when it comes to infection, it almost always occurs due to medical negligence.
If medical professionals failed to take all the required precautions to prevent spreading infection from one patient to another, like neglecting the proper cleaning and sanitization procedures before an operation, then it’s a medical negligence case.
- Anesthesia Errors
When it comes to anesthesia, there’s a reason why there are specialized schools, and the doctor responsible for the administration of anesthesia is called an anesthesiologist.
If done incorrectly, an anesthesia mistake can cause permanent injuries and death. These errors can include the failure to properly evaluate the patient’s medical history to nail down any possible complications, administering too much anesthesia, or even improperly placing the breathing tube for the patient.
Ready to Take Your Case to Court?
You don’t have to deal with the repercussions of a surgery gone wrong or a misdiagnosis alone. We hope that our little guide about what medical malfeasance is all about, as well as the top five shapes that medical malpractice can take, was helpful to you.
However, as with anything that has to do with civil law, you’ll want to get a lawyer on board, as well as brush up on your legal knowledge.
You can check out our ‘law’ section to get the latest tips that can help you make sense of the most stubborn of legalese.