What is Medical Malpractice? – Basic Information

Medical malpractice talks about professional negligence executed by a healthcare provider or professional wherein the treatment provided was poor, and caused a patient’s injury, harm or death. In most cases, the medical negligence or malpractice entailed a medical mistake, perhaps in diagnosis, health management, medication dosage, aftercare or treatment.

The mistake may have been due to an act of omission, or a careless one.

Medical malpractice law offers a means for victims to recover damages for any injuries caused by substandard treatment. The regulations and standards for medical malpractice vary slightly from country to country; even in some countries, jurisdiction may have different medical malpractice laws.

The doctor or other healthcare expert and hospital are not legally responsible for all the injuries a patient could endure. They’re only accountable for injuries or harm that caused their suffering from the care quality that an experienced doctor would usually provide in the same situations, and which caused injury or harm to a patient.


The University of Illinois stated in Annals of Pharmacotherapy that 7 % of all medical errors in patients that are hospitalized are composed of blood thinners. Blood thinners are endorsed to lessen the risks of heart attack and stroke by stopping clots from growing within the arteries and veins.

Primary care physicians mostly sued for missed diagnoses and drug errors – researchers stated in BMJ Open that nearly all malpractice cases against primary care physicians in Australia, Canada, France, the UK, and the USA are for drug errors and missed diagnoses (mostly related to meningitis, cancer, and heart attack).

How frequent is medical malpractice? Errors in diagnosis cause more or less 160,000 fatalities yearly in the USA – making these errors one of the most expensive and dangerous mistakes created by American physicians, estimated to result in 80,000 to 160,000 deaths annually, Johns Hopkins researchers stated in BMJ Quality & Safety in April 2013.

The researchers studied data from more than 350,000 malpractice cases in the USA over the last two decades. They accounted that most cases had to do with diagnostic mistakes and that those mistakes frequently resulted in severe patient injury and caused the largest total payouts.

Thirty-eight billion dollars were disbursed in diagnosis-related disbursements between the late 80’s and 2010.

Team leader, Dr. David E. Newman-Toker stated, “This is more proof that medical errors could effortlessly be the hugest patient safety, as well as medical malpractice issues in the USA. There are loads of harm linked with medical mistakes than we ever imagined.”

According to HealthGrades Patient Safety in Hospitals Study, approximately 195,000 individuals in the USA die annually from needless in-hospital medical mistakes. The authors further stated that out of thirty-seven million hospitalizations from 2000-2002, 1.14 million incidents accounted for patient-safety cases.

15,000 to 19,000 malpractice cases against US doctors occur yearly.

Researchers from UC-San Francisco stated in Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that sexual misconduct, as well as prescription without any well-known clinical connections, are among the most widespread professional violations by doctors in the USA.

A study conducted by researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada, accounted that from 2000 to 2009, 606 Canadian physicians were closely controlled by the local medical licensing establishments. Ninety-two percent of those regimented were males who had been in practice for about 28.9 years.

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Ninety-nine percent of them were autonomous practitioners. The most frequent breach was sexual delinquency (20%), issues about care standard (19%), as well as unethical conduct (16%). Sixty-two percent of those who were closely controlled were GPs (general practitioners), 9% were surgeons, and 14% were psychiatrists.

A study conducted in 2009 by researchers from MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) Department of Medicine discovered that most American physicians will encounter a malpractice case at some point during their careers. On the other hand, the tendency of having to disburse any cash to a claimant is quite low.

One in 3 hospitalized patients within the United States faces a hospital mistake, states a report issued in Health Affairs. Researchers in the University of Utah showed that errors created in hospitals were 10 times more widespread than the researchers had imagined. Examples of which included:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Providing the patient with wrong medication
  • Providing the patient with the wrong dosage
  • Leaving things within the body of a patient after surgery
  • Constant back pain following surgery
  • Operating on the incorrect part of a body
  • Bedsores (pressure ulcers)
  • Potentially deadly staph infections

We hope you now have a comprehensive idea of what Medical Malpractice is. If you think you have a medical malpractice case at hand, know also that you can opt for the services of a personal injury lawyer to make a claim.