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How to Prove Negligence at a Hospital or Nursing Home

November 14, 2021

Medical professionals like nurses and doctors are the primary responders to any healthcare emergency. Society owes them for their expertise and skill, but what happens when these medical professionals breach their solemn duty to care for the patient? Read along to know all about negligence at a hospital and the legal remedies available to patients who feel like their medical support providers have wronged them.

What Do We Mean By Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to a specific personal injury case where the defendant is a medical professional or a medical provider. Negligence at a hospital may count as medical malpractice. A medical practice suit is brought in when the defendant is accused of breaching their oath to care and treat the patient to the best of their abilities or if there was any discrepancy in their mode of treatment. Plaintiffs use the medical malpractice suit to claim damages for the physical and mental harm caused to them by the healthcare provider.

What Are the Key Legal Elements of a Medical Malpractice Suit?

Any medical malpractice suit must follow a set of guidelines to establish a strong case. Missing or incomplete elements can lead to the case collapsing in front of the jury. In all civil cases, the plaintiff must present their case in front of the jury for a standard review process, where the evidence is reviewed. If the jury is satisfied with the facts of the case, the case is brought to trial.

These are the elements involved in a medical malpractice case:

Duty Of Care

The first element involves the victims showing proof of duty of care between the hospital and the patient. This is fairly simple to establish due to the contractual nature of the relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider.

But, in most cases, medical malpractice suits are made against individual doctors and health care practitioners who may not belong to a hospital. This could complicate matters if the patient sought treatment from different places, as it complicates the matter of duty of care.

Breach Of Duty 

Here the plaintiff must establish if their health care providers breached their oath to care for the patient at any step of the treatment. In medical malpractice cases, this is usually done by providing evidence of doctors and nurses straying from the established path of care, which led to harm for the plaintiff. Additional proof can be taken in testimonies from other medical professionals on the industry standard of performing such procedures.

There can be many ways a healthcare professional can breach their duty of care. For instance, they may willfully fail to diagnose or misdiagnose a health condition despite visible signs and symptoms or prescribe incorrectly, banned, or harmful medication to the patient leading to greater harm. In such cases, patients can demand monetary damages for the harm caused.

There can be other situations where the patient suffers due to negligence at a hospital, on the part of the doctor, surgeon, or hospital administration. Examples include the surgeons leaving surgical equipment within the body, or the patient not receiving adequate food or care from the nurses, or the hospitals failing to provide a basic standard of sanitation and hygiene on the premises. All the above can cause harm to the patient and be probable cause for a medical malpractice suit against the healthcare providers.

Causation 

In this element, the plaintiff needs to establish proof of negligence on the part of the hospital doctors, nurses, and administration of duty of care towards them as a patient. Here the plaintiff simply must show how their healthcare providers breached their duty to care for the patient. The plaintiff needs to prove how the breach of care leads to serious complications in their health and life. This can be tricky to prove.

Damages

Most medical malpractice suits are filed when the plaintiff has suffered damage due to the treatment they received or did not receive. Damages include additional medical expenses, long-term injury, loss of wages due to extended recovery time. Other causes include the pain, harassment, stress, suffering, and mental anguish caused by the healthcare practitioner to the plaintiff.

A case of legal malpractice can be extremely complex and long-drawn. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is best to consult with the lawyer to determine the facts of the case. Once all the elements are discussed, the case can be put to the court. Contact us today to learn more about negligence at a hospital.