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Medical mistakes aren't necessarily malpractice: Here's why

A medical mistake is not necessarily medical malpractice, but any error that occurs can lead to litigation. There are three elements to any medical malpractice case. These include having a duty of care to a patient, breaching the duty of care, showing that an injury is related to that breach and damages.

Not all medical mistakes occur because a doctor is negligent or intends to cause harm. Sometimes, mistakes happen. Humans are not infallible. It is important that you understand what happened, though. For example, if you go into surgery and wake up with wounds on the wrong side of your body, then someone likely confused the surgical site. This is negligence.

When is it not malpractice?

In one story, a woman received epinephrine intravenously instead of into the muscle. This caused some severe symptoms, and it required that she stay in the hospital longer than expected. While she tried to show that the mistake caused her ongoing symptoms, there was no proof even after many different tests were performed. She had no provable damages, so she did not win her medical malpractice case.

When you present your case, you need to show that you meet the three factors above. If you can prove that your damages have been caused directly by a doctor's negligence, then you have the opportunity to win your case or to work out a settlement with the hospital or medical provider directly. Our website has more information on what to expect with your malpractice case.

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