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What Is Medical Malpractice?

What is Medical Malpractice?

We’re taught to trust doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers. After all, they’re the experts. But what happens when their judgment or actions result in harm? You may need to seek out a medical malpractice attorney in Virginia.

Medical malpractice means a doctor, nurse, or other licensed healthcare professional has made an error or failed to act appropriately. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives over 100,000 reports of medication errors.

Any professional’s lack of attention, care, or concern can lead to serious physical, emotional, or psychological harm. Infants who suffer medical malpractice at birth can experience permanent disabilities or brain damage. In the worst case scenario, medical malpractice costs someone their life.

What are examples of medical malpractice? 

Some patients worry that their experience with a doctor or other healthcare professional doesn’t count as malpractice. Unfortunately, we aren’t often taught what to look for when it comes to the appropriate standard of care in medicine.

All professionals must follow this standard of care to prevent injuries and undue harm to their patients. Someone who fails to meet these standards can cause traumatic or life-threatening injuries to an innocent patient who did nothing but seek their care. 

An action has to meet the following criteria to count as medical malpractice:

It Fails to Meet the Standard of Care

Healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and surgeons, need to follow certain protocols in order to give their patients the right treatments for their conditions. A patient who has a severe health problem needs more intensive care and follow-up than someone with a minor issue; care should scale to respect the needs of a patient, and they should never be given any less care, treatment, education, or information than their condition requires. 

You Are Injured as a Result of the Act

Many medical malpractice suits are due to negligence, which means a doctor or other professional did not take the appropriate steps to care for their patient. Examples of medical negligence can include misdiagnosis, dismissing a patient who presented with clear symptoms, improper medical prescriptions or use of treatment, and surgical or anesthesia errors. 

Your Injury Has Lasting Consequences

Whether it’s a physical impairment, mental trauma, emotional suffering, or financial hardship, medical malpractice has to cause enduring problems in your life after it occurs. For example, a doctor’s negligence may have caused a disability, which not only leaves you physically and emotionally injured but also incurs extra costs to live with.

Thousands of people’s lives are changed forever each year because of a healthcare professional’s malpractice. They may lose a loved one, suffer from chronic pain, or face a series of preventable challenges that complicate their lives. 

A good way to determine whether you have been a victim of medical malpractice is to answer the following four questions:

  • Was this person responsible for my care and helping me as much as they were able to?
  • Did they break that responsibility through acts of negligence? 
  • Was I somehow affected negatively as a result of their malpractice, e.g., physically injured or emotionally harmed? 
  • Are there ongoing damages resulting from their actions?

It’s important to note that being unhappy with the quality of care does not mean malpractice has taken place. It’s possible for practitioners of medicine to disagree with their patients, and for the patients to seek care elsewhere. This does not mean that the physician committed a crime. 

The easiest way to determine if you need a medical malpractice attorney is to consider the damages. If you have sustained any type of pain, injury, illness, financial hardship, or psychological complications from the care you received (or didn’t receive but deserved), then you may be able to sue.

Here are some common incidents that count as medical malpractice:


  • A doctor misdiagnosed you or failed to diagnose you when symptoms were reported.
  • You received incorrect doses or the wrong types of medication.
  • A surgeon performed incorrect or unnecessary surgery on you. 
  • A foreign object was left in your body after a surgical procedure. 
  • Someone manipulates your body without proper care and caution, causing physical impairment or life-threatening complications. 
  • Surgery or treatments were performed on incorrect parts of your body.
  • You were given the wrong treatment for an illness.
  • Your loved one was harmed or died as a result of incorrect treatment, surgery, improper care, or misdiagnosis.
  • Your loved one was disabled as a result of a healthcare’s providers actions (or lack of appropriate action).

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA

As a person who suffered medical malpractice, you deserve justice for the broken trust you put into a professional’s hands. For over 36 years, we have fought tirelessly to help clients throughout the Virginia Beach area receive the compensation they deserve. 

Please reach out to us today to find out if your experience qualifies as medical malpractice. We would be happy to help you learn what compensation you may be entitled to, and how our team can help you get it. Call Breit Law at 757-456-0333 for a free consultation, or contact us by filling out this form.

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