What Is Malpractice?

Malpractice occurs when a medical professional doesn’t follow healthcare standards and fails to provide appropriate care to a patient. Medical malpractice leads to damages and harm done to the patient, leaving them in a poorer condition. The patient’s life may be put at risk because of the negligent actions of a doctor or other healthcare providers. There are many ways that this can happen to a patient, such as:

  • The misdiagnosis of an illness
  • Prescribing the wrong medication
  • Providing the incorrect dosage for a medication
  • Performing the wrong surgery
  • Performing surgery in the wrong location 
  • Surgical errors like leaving surgical tools inside a patient
  • Childbirth injury to the mother or child
  • Poor follow-up care
  • Not taking action after lab tests or imaging scans were performed 
  • Providing the wrong dosage of anesthesia

Medical malpractice isn’t limited to these types of cases and can extend to just about any kind of event caused by a healthcare practitioner that resulted in damages. Malpractice is a form of negligence that can be proven in a step-by-step process with the help of a personal injury attorney. In order to prove medical malpractice by a doctor or healthcare practitioner, the following elements need to be present:

Duty of Care

The doctor, nurse, or other healthcare practitioner owes the patient a duty of care, meaning that they must follow the highest possible standards to care for their patient. 

Breach Of Duty

When the healthcare provider doesn’t fulfill their duty of care to the patient, this is a breach of duty, which means the patient doesn’t receive the healthcare that they need. 


The actions of the healthcare provider must cause personal injury to the patient. If the injury was caused for another reason, such as the medication being mixed up in a warehouse before delivery, the doctor can’t be held responsible. 


There has to be harm of some kind done to the patient for them to be owed damages. The patient had to have experienced some kind of personal injury caused by the healthcare provider before they can seek a settlement. Otherwise, there is no case. 

Medical malpractice can be difficult to prove, which is why attorneys will have to do a deep investigation to help uncover how the damages occurred. An attorney may check the facility's background, check the patient’s medical history, use billing records, and find other information to help prove a case. Malpractice can happen at any level of a healthcare facility and can cause long-term damages that put a patient’s life at risk. Healthcare providers are expected to provide a high level of quality medical care because the lives of their patients are in their hands.