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For effective delivery of medical care, all patients must consent to treatment from medical personnel. Such treatments may include tests, medical procedures, and administration of medication. All medical persons are expected to interact with their patients in line with the codes and ethics of the medical profession. Before the occurrence of any medical procedure or activity, patients reserve the right to know what is going to be done to them.

All the medical personnel, regardless of their role in the delivery of medical care, must adhere to the laws and regulations. Surgeons, physicians, dentists, nurses, chiropractors, psychiatrists, interns, psychologists, and all medical personnel are liable for medical malpractice if they refuse to adhere to regulations and ethics.

Things covered in this article:

  1. Definition of Medical Malpractice
  2. Lack of Provision of Standard Care
  3. Negligence that Leads to Injury or Harm
  4. Significant Damage from Injury or Harm
  5. Examples
  6. Risks

Definition of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is misconduct that happens when a healthcare center or professional health personnel carelessly delivers substandard medical care or withholds medical care, which leads to injury, harm, disabilities, loss of income, hardship, or death of a patient in their care.

Medical malpractice comes in the form of negligence or medical error, which may include wrong diagnosis, administration of the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, and poor health management. The law allows the patients or their next of kin to seek compensation for harm inflicted by medical personnel of a healthcare center.

For medical negligence or wrongdoing to be classified as medical malpractice, it must possess specific characteristics. These characteristics are:

  • Lack of Provision of Standard Care
  • Negligence that Leads to Injury or Harm
  • Significant Damage from Injury or Harm

Lack of Provision of Standard Care

When the health care given to a patient is not up to the standards and ethics of the medical profession, any injury or harm that results can be categorized as medical malpractice. However, injury or harm must occur before malpractice can be established. The lack of adherence to standard care is not enough to constitute medical malpractice.

Negligence that Leads to Injury or Harm

Valid medical malpractice must cause some form of injury or harm to patients. This means that medical negligence must be the only cause of injury or harm to the patient.

Significant Damage from Injury or Harm

Also, for medical malpractice to be established, injuries that affect patients as a result of negligence must be severe enough to have caused significant physical, psychological, or financial damage to the patient.


Medical malpractices can come in different forms. Typical examples are given below.

  • Misdiagnosis – this involves the inability to diagnose a patient on the grounds of negligence or incompetence, which can lead to the deterioration of health.
  • Misinterpretation or disregard for results from lab tests – in some cases, medical personnel may misinterpret or disregard results from lab tests. This can prove fatal in some cases.
  • Undue surgery or errors during surgery – there are cases in which a patient is forced to undergo surgery without a proper diagnosis. Other times, surgeons can make avoidable mistakes due to a lack of professionalism. These scenarios can put unnecessary hardship on patients.
  • Lack of proper aftercare – after a surgery or a treatment, a doctor may fail to provide a plan for the successful recovery for a patient, which can lead to various degrees of complications.
  • Administration of the wrong dose of medication – a healthcare facility may administer the wrong dosage of a drug or the wrong medication to a patient, which may lead to aggravation or appearance of new symptoms.


When medical malpractice occurs, it opens up a healthcare facility and its personnel to various types of risks, which include the following.

  • The lawsuit – whenever medical malpractice occurs in a healthcare facility, there is always a chance the patient might sue the facility or its staff. A lawsuit can be a problematic roller-coaster ride that can linger for years, which can be bad for the productivity of the hospital or clinic.
  • Loss of license – depending on the magnitude and frequency of occurrence of medical malpractice, a healthcare service may lose its license or, the licenses of its top doctors or nurses may be revoked. If this occurs, the facility can completely close down and lose a significant amount of patients and personnel to rival facilities.
  • Loss of revenue – when a patient decides to sue or the license of a healthcare facility is revoked, a healthcare center can spend thousands of dollars on payments of compensations, penalties, and litigation fees. In some cases, this can lead to complete closure of the facility.


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