California has one of the highest standards for medical care in the United States. However, that does not mean that doctors in the state are infallible. In fact, studies exist suggesting that medical professionals could be responsible for far more harm than anyone would like to believe.
When one thinks about medical malpractice, it is likely that surgical mistakes, flagrant errors or omissions would come to mind. However, a simple missed guess when made irresponsibly has the potential for drastic and deleterious effect on the life of a patient, potentially even leading to death.
An article in Time Magazine studies the link between medical misdiagnosis and death in America. Heart disease and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, are still the leading causes of death in America. However, the study reviewed in Time suggests that medical professional’s errors account for such a large number of deaths that these mistakes could be considered the third biggest killer in the USA.
According to FindLaw, there are multiple types of medical error. Of course, not all errors lead to a court finding a doctor guilty of malpractice: Judges might not find doctors to be legally responsible in any way, even if the consequences include the death of a patient. However, some of the more irresponsible actions of medical professionals could precipitate a successful legal action.
The legal code surrounding medical malpractice is complicated. FindLaw divides medical error into two categories, diagnosis and treatment. There are also other types of poor performance or negligent behaviors by medical professionals or institutions that could constitute malpractice. It is up to attorneys and their teams of medical investigators to uncover if and when a doctor or hospital breached a sworn duty egregiously.