Medical mistakes are more common than most people realize. In fact, researchers at Johns Hopkins have said that medical errors are the third leading cause of death across the country. However, not every injury or fatality that happens as a result of a medical procedure is medical malpractice. Here, we want to examine five signs that your case would likely NOT be considered medical malpractice. We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect that you or a loved one have been injured as a result of the careless or negligent actions of a medical professional.
1. There Was no Doctor-Patient Relationship
The first element of any successful malpractice claim against a health care professional is showing that there was a doctor-patient relationship established between the patient and the medical professional. This does not necessarily have to be a doctor – it can be just about any type of medical professional. Establishing this doctor-patient relationship usually means that the doctor has agreed to take the person as a patient and has rendered some sort of evaluation or medical care. This does not include a person simply speaking to a doctor outside of a professional environment. There must be a doctor-patient relationship in order for a medical malpractice claim to move forward.
2. The Injury or Illness Wasn’t Caused by Negligence
The human body is complicated. There are so many things that can go wrong, particularly if a person is already injured or ill. Just because a person’s condition gets worse does not necessarily mean that the doctor or medical professional in question was negligent. There is a high bar for establishing medical professional negligence, and if that bar is not met, then it is very likely that there is no medical malpractice claim.
3. There Were no Damages
Another main element of establishing a medical malpractice claim is showing that the patient suffered some sort of loss as a result of the incident. Typically, we define these losses in dollar terms, specifically examining medical bills, lost wages, and even pain and suffering a person endures. If a person does not sustain any losses as a result of a medical error, it is unlikely they will have a medical malpractice claim to move forward with. Sometimes, a doctor makes a mistake and fixes it before it causes any harm to a patient.
4. The Condition is Untreatable
Often, a person has a condition that is not treatable. Again, the human bodies are a mystery, even to this day with modern medicine. There are some conditions that simply cannot be treated by a doctor or any other type of medical professional. Just because a person sees a doctor for help does not necessarily mean that they will be cured or that a doctor will be able to alleviate their pain and suffering.
5. Patient Voluntarily Ended Medical Care
Sometimes, patients willingly and voluntarily end their medical treatment against the advice of their doctor. Individuals cannot be forced to undergo medical treatment if they do not wish to, so if a person decides to end their medical care and then their condition gets worse, this is not going to be a case of medical malpractice.