How Common Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a complicated issue, and it is not always clear when a health care provider is or is not guilty. As a medical malpractice lawyer from a firm like the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A. can explain, medical malpractice occurs when a provider fails to conform to accepted standards of health care. Examples of such a failure to conform to accepted medical standards may include:

  • Providing a substandard quality of care
  • Negligence that results in significant injury, or even death

In such cases, the medical provider’s lack of proper care may make him or her liable for medical malpractice.

Must Medical Malpractice Always Have Damaging Consequences?

There is a caveat to the above-listed points, however. A patient is only qualified to file a lawsuit against a provider if the provider’s choices — or lack thereof — result in considerable damage to the patient’s health or well-being. For example, if the provider’s poor choices lead to the patient being in considerable pain, an inability to work, and/or persistent suffering, then the provider may be liable for medical malpractice. On the other hand, if the health care provider provides substandard quality of care but has not caused any significant injuries or hardships to the patient, then the patient does not have a case for medical malpractice.

Due to the many factors involved in what constitutes medical malpractice, determining whether a health care provider is guilty of medical malpractice can be a difficult task. In light of such difficulties (along with the significant emotional toll that filing a lawsuit may cause), many victims of medical malpractice do not file lawsuits. This is an unfortunate situation, as it leads to people not receiving the justice that they deserve.

Is Medical Malpractice Common?

Considering that doctors are highly valued and trusted members of our society, it’s easy to assume that medical malpractice is an uncommon occurrence. Shockingly, however, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, following the two lead causes, which are heart disease and cancer. According to reports in the BMJ, as many as 200,000 patients a year die from medical errors.

What is also alarming is that only 2% of those who have suffered from medical malpractice proceed in filing a lawsuit. However, if you believe that you or a loved one may be a victim of medical malpractice, you should not let this statistic prevent you from contacting a lawyer today to discuss if a lawsuit is a correct step moving forward.