What Types of Medical Malpractice Cases are There?

Medical malpractice is a broad term that covers a lot of medical errors and failures.  When doctors, nurses, hospitals, or other healthcare providers fail to give proper care, you might have a medical malpractice case.  Just because a case is called “medical malpractice,” does not mean it works the same as another medical malpractice case.

No matter how the case came about, medical malpractice cases can often leave patients with extreme discomfort and severe pain, could require additional surgeries to fix, or could result in death.  Utah medical malpractice lawyer Darwin Overson will explain some different types of medical malpractice cases:

Basic Elements of Medical Negligence

Any lawsuit based on a healthcare provider’s negligent care requires proving these same four factors:

  1. The healthcare provider had a duty to provide certain services with a certain “standard of care.”
  2. The healthcare provider breached that duty by falling below the standard of care.
  3. That breach caused some harm to the injured party.
  4. The harm is something a court can award money for – this is called “damages.”

There are some medical malpractice cases that avoid this general setup, but almost every case needs to meet these factors.  In a typical malpractice case, we usually prove that a doctor’s care fell below the standard of care, and that lead to some injury or required more surgery to fix.  For instance, a doctor could slip with a scalpel and cuts too deep, requiring more work to repair the error.

Cases That Don’t Require Proving Negligence

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There are a few types of cases that do not require as much proof.  These are called “res ipsa loquitor” or just “res ipsa” cases, Latin for “the thing speaks for itself.”  In these cases, the negligence is obvious, based on the situation.

Retained Surgical Instruments 

Surgery is complicated, and often involves many tools and equipment.  Sometimes, healthcare providers fail to provide proper care by accidentally leaving sponges, gauze, clamps, and other tools inside patients after surgery.  It may take a patient years to notice and usually requires more surgery to fix.

Operating Room Problems 

There are chemicals, electronic equipment, and tanks of various gasses used during surgery.  The operating room is supposed to be safe and clean.  There is clearly a problem – and a failure by someone on the staff – if the operating room catches fire during surgery or a chemical spill causes injury.  Hopefully, this is a rare situation, but it does happen.

Lack of Consent Cases

Everything that a doctor or other medical professional does to you and your body requires “informed consent,” except in the case of an emergency, to save your life.  Since this requires “informed consent,” it means that you give permission, but that you also understand what they will be doing.  That means they need to tell you specifically what the procedure will entail.

In these cases, the problem is the lack of consent.  Even if the procedures went well, you can still sue because of the violation of your body without permission.

Failure to Diagnose/Delayed Diagnosis

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One of the main jobs of doctors and healthcare professionals is figuring out what is wrong with people.  That means using their experience, training, and available tools to diagnose your illnesses and injuries for treatment.

In some cases, figuring out what is wrong with someone is hard, and most doctors would be unable figure it out.  In other cases, the doctor does not do enough tests or fails to pursue the right courses of treatment.

If you suffer harm because your doctor did not diagnose you, or because they took too long to diagnose you, you can get compensation for that harm.  That means that if your doctor ignores chest pain and says it is a broken rib when it is actually a heart attack, and the heart attack goes untreated, you can sue.

Gross Negligence

Some cases of malpractice are just so bad that there is no excuse.  In many of these cases, you do not even need an expert to prove that the care fell below the standard of care, because it is just so bad.  This includes things like performing the wrong surgical procedure or performing the surgery on a different part of the body.  Most people have heard the horror story of doctors amputating the wrong leg.  That kind of error is considered “gross negligence,” and is totally unacceptable.

A Utah Medical Malpractice Attorney can Handle Your Case

No matter what type of injury you suffered from a healthcare provider’s improper treatment, the law can get you compensation.  If you are in Utah and looking for an attorney to take your medical malpractice case, contact Overson Law, PLLC.  Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys work with all sorts of medical malpractice cases and patients to get them compensation.  For a free consultation, call (801) 895-3143.


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