Doctors and hospitals deal with life and death decisions every day. Their decisions about medications and surgeries carry severe consequences. As a result, it is inevitable that some mistakes will be made. There is no way that doctors can engage in the business of saving lives without making some mistakes and causing injuries. This article will discuss when those mistakes become medical malpractice.
Doctors rely on medical knowledge acquired throughout the entire profession to render decisions. This knowledge creates a "standard" that doctors are expected to adhere to. When doctors deviate from these standards and injuries occur, then medical malpractice may have been committed.
But, doctors are sometimes confronted with a medical mystery that defies medical standards. These cases require doctors to think outside the box and to get creative with treatment methods. Unfortunately, this can sometimes result in injuries to the patient. If a doctor uses one of these unconventional methods, he or she may raise the Respectable Minority Principle. This allows doctors, when the medical standards do not work, to use radical or new treatments if a respectable minority of doctors approve of the practice. It allows doctors to use these newer techniques without fear of a lawsuit if something goes wrong.
Finally, many states have Good Samaritan laws that shield people from liability if they choose to assist a person in distress. These laws specifically cover doctors and nurses who try to help people. Keep in mind that these laws only protect someone if the help they rendered was reasonable. So if a doctor takes this opportunity to use an alternative to the Heimlich, then he or she could be subject to litigation.
Doctors and hospitals have numerous defenses that are available to them. Some of these defenses are available to anyone involved in a lawsuit, and some are designed specifically for medical malpractice. If you believe that you were injured due to doctor negligence, then you may have an actionable claim and should probably consult with an attorney.