Medical malpractice or medical negligence is any act or omission of any act of a licensed medical practitioner which causes injury to the patient due to digression from the usual norms of medical ethics and practice. Lawsuits relating to medical negligence are ever increasing in the USA.
Recently, a Connecticut woman was awarded $12 million as compensation by the jury in a medical malpractice case. The woman alleged that a doctor in a Danbury hospital had punctured her colon while the woman went for a regular checkup for hernia. The Connecticut woman collapsed and went into coma due to said alleged negligence. The bungled operation was apparently not even realized by the two doctors before the surgical incision was subsequently closed by them. The woman also suffered from a severe infection due to the negligence, according to her lawyer. Danbury superior court thus found the hospital, as well as the doctors, liable for medical malpractice. However, the case might go on appeal according to the hospital authorities.
Medical malpractice is a very specialized branch of tort law. To prove medical malpractice, there is a standard three pronged test. Firstly, it must be proved that the medical practitioner or the hospital were under a duty of care toward the patient. Secondly, it must be further proven that there was a digression from the said duty of care by act or even by omission. Lastly, one must further prove that an injury or damage was caused to the patient victim due to digression from duty of care.
Being highly technical and streamlined, an ailing patient or the grieving family might not be able to traverse the legal system unguided. In the meanwhile, the medical expenses incurred due to medical malpractice may keep increasing. Thus, in such cases, professional help may be invaluable.
Source: NBCConnecticut, “Woman wins $12M in malpractice case against Danbury hospital”, May 30, 2014