What is Medical Malpractice?

Surgeons at work.

If you watch certain kinds of television, you’ve almost certainly heard the term “medical malpractice” before. It’s a surprisingly common problem, and one most people hope to never deal with. But what exactly is it, and how do you know if you’ve been the victim of malpractice?

Medical malpractice refers to any time a medical professional, through negligent or reckless behavior, causes unnecessary harm to a patient to whom they owed a duty of professional care. This can include negligence or recklessness by doctors and nurses of all kinds, whether they work at a hospital or doctor’s office, in a nursing home or visit patients for outpatient care. It can also include lab technicians, orderlies, and anyone else responsible for the treatment, diagnosis or care of a patient.

One problem with medical malpractice, however, is that the harm isn’t always immediately apparent. For example, one potential form of malpractice is misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose an ailment, resulting in the wrong treatment, or a delay in treatment to the patient. Depending on the nature of the ailment, it could take months or years for someone to recognize the error, at which point pursuing legal action could be difficult.

Another issue is that many medical problems can be caused, or aggravated by, a whole host of issues aside from medical malpractice.  Genetics, environmental factors, and personal habits can all have an impact on whether someone develops certain diseases, or whether those diseases get better or worse. This is an issue because, in a malpractice case, it’s not enough to simply prove that a person suffered an ailment or injury, and that the medical professionals messed up. There needs to be a concrete link between the medical mistake and the injury or ailment you suffered, and that can be a pain to prove.

If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you’ll need skilled legal representation to assist you. The lawyers at Levine and Slavit, PLLC are experienced in representing New York City and Long Island residents in medical malpractice and wrongful death matters. To schedule a free consultation, contact our New York City medical malpractice lawyers at (212) 687-2777 or for our Long Island lawyers call (516) 294-8282.

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