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What is considered medical malpractice?

When a physician or medical professional fails to provide a patient with the standard health care treatment, it is considered medical malpractice here in California and across the country. According to a study Johns Hopkins Medicine conducted last year, failure to diagnose and other diagnostic errors are the most common reason patients file lawsuits. A diagnostic mistake can also encompass a delayed diagnosis or an incorrect one.

There are many other types of malpractice that can occur, such as the following:

  • Injuries during childbirth – This can include a failure to identify birth defects, not responding to signs of fetal distress properly or incorrectly using tools such as forceps.
  • Surgical errors – An anesthesiologist may not warn a patient of the potential risks, a surgeon could leave tools inside a body, or a physician could operate on the wrong area.
  • Medication mistakes – A doctor may prescribe the wrong medicine or a nurse could administer an incorrect dosage.

If you believe you have suffered due to a medical professional’s negligence, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit. You will have to prove that there was a deviation from the standard of care, which is usually defined as how other physicians in the same field in the area would have diagnosed, treated or prevented the problem. On top of proving negligence, you will have to demonstrate that the error directly caused your injury.

According to California law regarding medical malpractice, you have two years to file a personal injury claim, or one year from the time you discovered the injury. Because these matters can often become quite complex, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney if you suspect you have a case.

While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.

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