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I was injured by a hospital error. How do I prove malpractice?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice claims can help victims and their loved ones after an error in hospital treatment results in serious injury. For a claim to move forward, the victim generally needs to demonstrate the four following elements:

  1. Duty. This element requires the victim show that the hospital owed them a duty of care.
  2. Breach. There was a breach of this duty through an act or omission. Evidence to help substantiate a breach of duty can include medical records, expert testimony, and witness statements.
  3. Causation. It is not enough to show that a mistake occurred; there must be a direct link between the hospital’s error and the injury sustained. This causation is challenging to prove and can require detailed medical analysis.
  4. Damage. Victims must also quantify the extent of their damages, which includes physical suffering and loss of income as well as medical bills for corrective treatment.

This may seem like a relatively easy checklist, but the reality is much more complex. These cases require not just collecting but also proving the evidence. The case can also involve multiple parties. In a recent example, a retired pediatric nurse went to a local hospital because she believed she had bronchitis. Her medical team determined she needed a feeding tube. The nurse incorrectly inserted the tube into the trachea and punctured the patient’s lung. Two hours later, a radiologist misread the X-ray and failed to notice the error. The patient ultimately died due to the error. The victim’s loved ones moved forward with a case against both the hospital and the radiologist, ultimately winning millions.

These types of cases are important because they provide funds to help the victim and/or their family pay the bills associated with treatment, hold the wrongdoer responsible for the error, and deter others from making the same mistake.