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Elements of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is the word which medical professions dread the most. The unfortunate thing is that medical malpractice happens frequently, and recovering from the condition is a costly and lengthy procedure for both the individuals and the facility involved. While the matter is mort often linked with physicians, it is also prevalent in nursing. Medical malpractice in nursing has increased in recent times and is likely because the issues are not discussed extensively in nursing. The standard care set by institutions is expected to be adhered to by all employers of the facility. That includes taking caution while handling patients to avoid the occurrence of medical malpractice. The four medical malpractice elements are duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation. Duty must be owed to the patient by a medical professional charged with the care of the patient. The doctor-patient connection is a typical instance where the obligation exists. The medical professional who had the duty of care for a patient must have failed in her/his duty by not exercising the medical skill or care level that another medical professional in a similar specialty would have exercised in the same situation. An example is when a fellow medical professional is called to attest as to the proper standard of care. Breach of Duty example, the patient is owed a safe environment, and a nurse has a duty to follow physicians’ orders for the patient. The specific duty owed to the patient has been breached, meaning that the duty has not been met. In terms of the safe environment, perhaps a nurse forgets to put the bed rail up and the patient falls. The nurse’s failure to maintain the patient’s safe environment would constitute a breach of duty.

Damages: The breach of duty must have caused injuries that result in damages. The injuries the patient suffered when falling out of bed are the damages that can be claimed. If the patient was not injured, there are no damages.

Causation: This is generally the most difficult element to prove in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There must be a direct cause-and-effect link between the breach of duty and the injury. The breach of duty must have caused the injury. In the example, if the nurse had not left the bed railing down, the patient would not have fallen. The nurse’s breach of duty caused the injury.

A patient needs to have suffered a physical or emotional injury while in the medical practitioner’s care. The injury might be a fresh one or a worsening of a present injury. Solid proof must exist that the breach of duty by the medical professional caused a patient’s injury. An effective medical malpractice suit must prove that all four elements are present. If the medical professional being sued or defendant demonstrate that one or more of the four elements is missing, the suit will not prevail. There are several ways in which medical malpractice might be avoided in the future. Medical professionals need to ensure that they make referrals with patients to prevent patients from following through on instructions. Doctors to sufficiently document patient visits and treatment schedules, which will help illustrate their competency should any issue arise. The medical professionals can strive for an open and trusting relationship with patients, encouraging patients to disclose all the information that might be necessary for effective treatment.

References

Aparna Srinivasa Babu,M.L ( 2015, March 12). The Malpractice Lability of Radioloy Reports: Minimizing the Rik. Practice Policy and Quality Initiatives, XXXV(2). doi:https:/doi.org/10.1148/rg.352140046

Collin J. Larkin, A.G.(2020). Overview of medical malpractice in neurosurgery.Journal of Neurosurgery.doi:https://doi.org/10.3171/2020.8 FOCUS20588

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