THERE’S NO MALPRACTICE – JUST A BAD RESULT.
What is medical negligence or malpractice? Reduced to its most simplest terms, medical negligence is: (a) doing something that a reasonably prudent physician or hospital would NOT do; or (b) failing to do something that a reasonably prudent physician or hospital WOULD do. For example, a medication error or overdose, or leaving a large foreign object in a patient during surgery, are acts of negligence that a reasonably prudent physician or hospital would NOT do. By comparison, failing to timely order diagnostic tests that would have prevented conditions like a heart attack, stroke, or cancer, would be examples of failing to do something that a reasonably prudent physician or hospital WOULD do.
Sometimes a careful review of the medical records may reveal that a surgical error or error in technique, occurred, despite what the “official” records say. Other examples of malpractice would include an operative or post-operative infection was in fact preventable, OR was not timely diagnosed and treated with appropriate antibiotics, losing a valuable window of opportunity for the patient.
However, a simple bad result after a surgery or other medical procedure does not, by itself, necessarily mean that medical negligence occurred. For example, a surgery that fails to alleviate a patient’s symptoms, does not necessarily mean that the physician was negligent. For example, physicians can perform a surgery or procedure “by the book” and a bad result can still occur.
As the old saying goes, “the devil is in the details.” Only an experienced malpractice attorney, who has spent years reviewing hundreds or thousands of cases and deciphering medical records, can distinguish between an unfortunate “bad result” and facts that are suggestive of medical negligence, and a more extensive evaluation.