Knowing When Medical Malpractice Has Occurred

What is Medical Malpractice?

If you believe that you have come to harm because your doctor did something inappropriate, you can at least investigate the possibility of medical malpractice. Because you may not be familiar with the standards of care and best practices, it is better to ask the question than not because you only have a limited time to act if it is malpractice.
However, just because you are unhappy with your outcome doesn’t necessarily mean that your doctor has committed malpractice. Here is a guide to help you determine when it is and is not reasonable to suspect that malpractice may have occurred.

What Scenarios Do Not Typically Amount to Malpractice?

It is a simple medical fact that some conditions are just not treatable. Even if your doctor does as much as possible for you and makes no mistakes, you may have a terminal condition that cannot be treated or cured. You cannot reasonably accuse a doctor of malpractice if he or she makes sound decisions regarding your care based on a prompt and accurate diagnosis.

The same holds true if your condition worsens. Even if treatment options are available, not every patient responds similarly to every modality. There is no way to predict who will respond and who won’t, so the fact that you are not getting better doesn’t necessarily mean that your doctor has committed malpractice.

What Factors Can Contribute to Malpractice?

Notice that the previous scenarios do not add up to malpractice on their own. However, if other factors are involved, if your doctor did not live up to the profession’s standards in treating you, you might have grounds to allege malpractice. For example, imagine that you have cancer that your doctor failed to diagnose right away. It might have been treatable when you first experienced symptoms and sought medical care, but by the time it was diagnosed, it progressed to be untreatable. In this instance, your condition might not have been terminal if not for the doctors’ incompetence so that you may have grounds for a medical malpractice suit.

Similarly, if your doctor behaves recklessly, putting you in danger, that may be a more clear-cut form of malpractice. Examples include administering a higher dose of medication than recommended or operating on you under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Consider reaching out to a medical malpractice lawyer in Oregon from a firm like Andersen Morse & Linthorst for assistance with these cases.