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February 11, 2020

Medical Malpractice or Wrongful Death?

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Posted in General

Personal Injury Lawyer

There’s a clear distinction between medical malpractice and wrongful death when it comes to the law, but to someone like you, the distinction may be unclear. The good news is you can speak with an attorney to determine which lawsuit to file if your loved one died in a hospital or at the hands of a doctor. The following are some things to keep in mind.

Medical Malpractice

When medical malpractice occurs, it’s because a healthcare provider was acting in a negligent way, and that negligence resulted in the injury or illness of a patient. This could apply to doctors, midwives, nurses, pharmacists, surgeons and other hospital staff members. Medical malpractice might include delayed treatment, a birth injury, failure to properly diagnose, medication errors and other similar situations. Medical malpractice may result in death, and when it does, it becomes a wrongful death case.

Wrongful Death

Similar to medical malpractice, wrongful death is due to the negligent actions of another person, but it is not specific to the medical field. It could be due to an auto accident, recalled product, dangerous food, assault and also medical malpractice. One of the biggest differences is wrongful death lawsuits are always due to a death taking place because of the negligence of another person or entity.

When to File Which Lawsuit

If medical malpractice led to the death of your loved one, you will probably file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if your loved one was experiencing a heart condition and the doctor diagnosed the issue incorrectly, which then led him or her to prescribe a medication that provided the opposite effect of what the patient needed, and your loved one died as a result, it would be medical malpractice that led to a wrongful death. You would then file a wrongful death lawsuit against that doctor. If the patient lived, you would file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

What Might Lead to Wrongful Death

There are a lot of medical mistakes that could lead to wrongful death. Some examples include:

  • A physician prescribing the wrong medication
  • Hospital staff ignoring the emergency alert coming from a patient’s room
  • A doctor allowing a pregnant woman to get a procedure that he or she knows will harm the baby
  • A doctor misdiagnosing a patient
  • A nurse entering information into the computer incorrectly

The list goes on, and there are a lot of examples that could be given. If you feel your loved one wasn’t given proper care by a physician or hospital staff, and died as the result, you may have a case for wrongful death.

Getting the Help You Need

You don’t have to figure out the legal system on your own. Contact a medical malpractice attorney today to learn whether you have a case or not.

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