QUESTION: What is medical malpractice?
ANSWER: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker, whose treatment of a patient departs from a standard of care met by those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.
QUESTION: Can I sue for malpractice if I am dissatisfied with the results of my surgery?
ANSWER: A successful malpractice suit has to show that any injury or damage resulted when a doctor did not meet a required standard of care. There are generally no guarantees for a medical procedure, and unsatisfactory results do not always show negligence.
QUESTION: How should I pursue a malpractice claim?
ANSWER: Talk to an attorney as quickly as possible. Give the attorney a complete account of your experience, from your first contact with the doctor to the last one. Give the attorney a copy of your medical records as well. Remember: there is a time limit on how long you have to bring a malpractice claim.
QUESTION: What is informed consent?
ANSWER: Different states have different requirements for informed consent, although the broad definition is that physicians must give their patients all of the information they need to give written consent to go forward. This includes information on potential risks, alternatives, and the benefits for any medical procedure.
QUESTION: Can I pursue a malpractice claim if I signed a valid consent form?
ANSWER: You may still be able to sue for malpractice. A consent form cannot release your physician from a duty to avoid negligence. You can still recover damages if you are able to establish that your physician failed to provide the proper standard of care, and that this resulted in damage or injury to you. You can also explore the possibility that your doctor performed a procedure that went beyond the consent you gave. This could even make the physician liable for battery.