Malpractice isn’t the same as as a mere mistake (under Virginia law)
One of the aspects of my job I enjoy the most, is speaking to the folks who call our office. Sometimes, they call because a doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner has made a mistake in Virginia.
Often, when they call, they say “I’ve never called a lawyer before but someone told me I should call….”
Examples of medical mistakes may be as follows:
- Failing to diagnose an illness
- Failure to review medical records or radiology reports
- Surgical mistakes
- Failure to explain a possible risk before a procedure
Mistakes can have consequences – but mistakes are not the same as malpractice. Malpractice is a violation of the standard of care – which means, a majority of similar doctors wouldn’t have done X.
What this means is anyone can make a mistake, but malpractice occurs when something happens that is avoidable, preventable – and a majority of other doctors would have done it right.
AND under the law, you must prove that the negligent act cause a significant injury.
In failure to diagnose cases, you only have a lawsuit when the failure to diagnose either prevented you from gaining access to a necessary treatment, or caused additional injury.
- Example – failure to diagnose colon cancer, tumor abscesses into wall of colon – spreads – cancer goes from stage II to IV
- Example – failure to prescribe blood thinner, DVT occurs
- Example – injury to neighboring organs during abdominal surgery and failing to recognize it
- Example – surgical injury
So while mistakes do happen, malpractice can be prevented.
I hope you will call us so we can help you understand what happened in your care.