Medical Malpractice Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the definition of medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses any errors that occur in a medical setting.

What are some common medical errors that might result in a medical malpractice claim?

Medical malpractice can occur in many forms, including misdiagnosis of some disease or condition, failure to inform the patient of the risks inherent with a certain procedure or drug ("informed consent"), negligently performing a procedure, and prescribing the wrong drug (either a non-effective drug, one that the patient is allergic to, one that may harm the patient if taken with other already prescribed drugs, or one that may harm the patient due to a preexisting condition).

Who can be held liable for medical malpractice?

Physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, and hospitals can all be held liable for personal injuries involving medical malpractice.

What is a medical malpractice suit for negligence?

In order to bring a medical malpractice suit for negligence, a person must prove that a medical professional or entity had a duty to treat the patient in a certain manner, failed to do so, and therefore caused that person's injury.

What is informed consent?

Doctors are required to inform the patient of the projected effectiveness of his or her treatment and the possibility of negative side effects or other adverse outcomes. Before a doctor can perform a procedure, prescribe a drug, or take any significant action, he must get the "informed consent" of the patient.

What percentage of hospital patients become victims of medical mistakes?

Approximately 3% of all hospital patients are victims of medical mistakes. A 1999 Recent U.S. Healthcare Industry Survey estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year as a result of medical errors. Of that number, 7,000 patients died as a result of prescription errors or drug dispensing errors.

How many doctors, nurses, and other hospital executives state that they have witnessed major quality of care or medical mistakes?

95% of doctors, 89% of nurses and 82% of hospitals executives surveyed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a U.S. Healthcare Industry survey company, stated that they had seen major quality of care or witnessed at least some medical mistakes during their careers.

Should I contact an attorney if I have been the victim of medical malpractice?

Yes. It is important for you to contact us to help you protect your legal rights. Only a licensed attorney can evaluate whether you have a case that is worth pursuing. Keep in mind however that there are time limits (Statute of Limitations) which impact on your ability to bring a claim.

Related Topics:

Medical Malpractice Injuries
Medication & Prescription Errors
Medical Malpractice Reform
Patient Safety

Medical Malpractice FAQs information provided by


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Eckman, Strandness & Egan P.A.

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Last modified: Friday, October 24, 2014