What is medical malpractice?

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider- a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital, or hospital worker- whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients. Most medical malpractice cases are based on the concept of negligence-that is, the patient was harmed because the health care provider failed to meet the required standards of skill and care, in accordance with generally accepted standards. The prescribed standard of medical care may vary from state to state. Because Health care providers cannot guarantee the results of medical treatment, a patient's malpractice claim is not valid just because his or her treatment was not successful. Instances of malpractice might include cutting off the oxygen supply during surgery, misdiagnosing an injury because routine tests and procedures were not followed, or prescribing an illegal drug or one not approved for the patient's condition. Each state has a law, known as the statute of limitations, that gives you a certain amount of time in which you can file a claim. The purpose of the statute is to ensure that a claim is made while information relevant to the case is still available. If you think that you are the victim of medical malpractice, you should consult an attorney who is knowledgeable in medical malpractice cases.

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