One common misconception about medical malpractice is that seeing any type of negative outcome means that the doctor was, in some way, at fault. This poor outcome is seen as the grounds for a lawsuit, as if doctors can treat and fix any ailment put before them.
Clearly, this is not the case. Doctors work hard and train for years, and modern medicine is better than it has ever been before. But that certainly does not mean that doctors can cure every disease or help people heal from every injury.
Take, for instance, a brain injury. Perhaps someone gets injured in a car accident and ends up in the hospital. When they come to, they can no longer speak. The brain injury has taken away that ability.
Even with world-class care, that ability may never return. Brain injuries are among the most complex injuries doctors ever see. They impact people differently from one case to the next, and the brain often does not heal as completely as other parts of the body. The person may regain all of their skills, limited skills, or none at all. That alone is no indication of the quality of medical care they received.
What can patients expect?
It is fair for patients to expect doctors to be professional and proficient. They do expect and deserve a high level of care using approved equipment and techniques. They can expect a doctor to avoid mistakes, such as mixing up paperwork or giving the patient the wrong medication.
What really matters to the case, though, is negligence. When doctors act negligently and make avoidable mistakes or fail to provide proper care, that's when a negative outcome could start a medical malpractice case. The doctor has a duty to the patient and may have failed in that duty. The patient suffered as a result.
However, it's often hard for people in these difficult situations to see past their own emotional distress. They assume that it must be the doctor's fault that they did not get the result that they want. They did not get the outcome they were after. They did not heal the way they hoped.
That's where things go too far. While the result matters, it is far less important to the validity of the case than the treatment itself. Doctors can do everything in their power to provide proper treatment and still see a poor result. That does not mean they acted negligently.
Protection from claims
The emotional investment of patients and their families means that they may attempt to sue when they have no real grounds to do so. It's important for medical professionals to understand all of the legal defense options they have.