Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. This duty includes the obligation to make treatment decisions and to undertake actions that fall within the accepted standard of medical care. When a doctor or other healthcare professional breaches this duty, it may result in a claim of medical malpractice

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional renders substandard treatment to a patient that ends up causing some sort of injury or medical harm to the patient. Proving that medical malpractice occurred requires establishing four separate elements:

  1. You had a provider/patient relationship: First, you must establish that you had a doctor/patient or provider/patient relationship with the party you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim against. Although this element can seem straightforward, it is important to prove that the party you are pursuing a claim against played some part in your treatment or care.
  2. The provider failed to render treatment in accordance with the accepted standard of care: Although the specifics of the standard of care vary from patient case to patient case, generally the standard of care is defined as the treatment decisions and actions that other medical providers of similar training and experience would undertake in identical circumstances. This recognizes that medicine is an evolving science and not every adverse patient outcome is the result of malpractice. If other members of the medical community would have acted the same way in your treatment, the law typically will not hold your provider liable for medical malpractice. 
  3. The provider’s failure to comply with the standard of care caused you to suffer injury or harm: You must also show that your provider’s conduct was a direct and proximate cause of the injuries or harm that you claimed to suffer. For example, your doctor may have failed to promptly diagnose a condition that you were suffering from, but if the delayed diagnosis resulted in no ill effects for you, then no malpractice occurred. 
  4. You incurred losses that you can be financially compensated for: Similarly, you must show that you have suffered some financial or personal loss due to the injuries or medical harm you suffered. This may include costs of additional medical care you needed, lost income from extra time from work you missed, or additional physical pain and emotional suffering. 

Examples of Medical Malpractice

The most common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis/failure to diagnose, which can harm a patient by allowing their medical condition and foreclosing effective treatment options or by causing the patient to undergo unnecessary treatment for a condition they do not have.
  • Failure to provide treatment, which can also allow a patient’s health condition to progress, making treatment more difficult and causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
  • Medication errors, including prescribing contraindicated medication, miscalculating the dosage, improperly filling the prescription, or errors in administering medication
  • Surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery, inadvertent perforation of organs, or leaving equipment inside a patient
  • Anesthesia errors, including administering too much or too little anesthesia, or failing to monitor a patient’s condition during surgery
  • Birth injuries, or injuries to mother or baby that occur due to negligent prenatal care or errors during delivery
  • Hospital-acquired infections, which are caused by inadequate sanitation practices or inadequate maintenance of a patient’s hygiene

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured due to medical malpractice in New Jersey? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Rochelle Park medical malpractice attorneys at The Epstein Law Firm are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout New Jersey, including Mahwah, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Newark. Call us today at (201) 380-7687 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 340 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park, NJ 07762.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.