Medical Malpractice Law Covers More Than Procedures

Posted on: 11 January 2021

When folks think about medical malpractice, they often picture a doctor messing up a procedure. Although a medical malpractice law firm would certainly consider taking on that kind of case, they can help in many other ways. Take a look at four other kinds of cases that are covered by this field of law.

1. Prescriptions

Most medical work isn't dominated by the stereotype of cutting people open and working on the body's insides. For a lot of folks, the most potentially dangerous thing a doctor may do is prescribe them something. This can be a problem for a host of reasons. A doctor might not take proper precautions based on the patient's history.

For example, it may constitute malpractice to prescribe a strong pain killer to someone who has had a history of drug addiction. Also, medical professionals have to worry about things like pharmaceutical interactions with other drugs the patient might be on. They also have to consider allergic reactions. Similarly, doctors aren't the only ones with exposure to medical malpractice claims. A pharmacist might commit malpractice by grabbing the wrong drug or providing an incorrect dose.

2. Infections

The standard of care at a hospital, clinic, or practice goes beyond the staff doing specific medical work. They also have a responsibility to maintain a clean space and equipment where patients won't be exposed to known infection risks. If there's evidence that a patient contracted an infection during a visit due to the staff's negligence, that may be grounds for a claim. For example, someone with a breathing issue might contract an infection because the staff failed to properly sanitize a respirator mask between sessions.

3. Diagnosis

Another aspect of the standard of care is a duty to diagnose things other competent professionals would readily recognize. This doesn't mean a doctor should catch everything, but it does mean they should notice concerns that a typical practitioner would spot right away. Suppose a doctor told someone with a compound fracture that they could walk on their leg without crutches. If the doctor flat-out missed something because they didn't check all of the X-rays, a medical malpractice law firm would likely consider that grounds for a claim or lawsuit.

4. Aftercare

Medical practices also have a duty to provide care afterward. If a doctor doesn't have the ability or time to confirm that a patient's recovery is going well, they must at least refer the patient to someone who can. You'll need to check in with a lawyer to determine whether a lack of adequate aftercare led to further complications.