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Medical malpractice and negligence

Medical negligence can range from emergency room errors, to misdiagnoses, up to hospital errors. Unfortunately, it has been estimated that medical negligence ranks third among the causes of death of Americans, after heart disease and cancer.

Considering the statistics, it is important for Philadelphia residents to know more about medical negligence and medical malpractice cases. According to a source, medical malpractice payouts in the year 2012 alone cost more than $3 billion. This accounted to one payout every 43 minutes. While being involved in a medical error is something you cannot foresee, every individual should know some of the basic information about medical malpractice cases. Medical malpractice is defined as an incident in which a healthcare provider deviates from their obligation to practice a sound "standard of care." Standard of care refers to what a careful medical provider would do or not do to ensure a patient's safety from error or similar circumstances that could harm an individual.

A medical malpractice claim may exist if a healthcare provider causes an injury or any kind of damages to a patient. However, the bad outcome of a medical treatment is not always proof of negligence. There are cases in which patients are informed by a doctor that the person received negligent medical care from a previous healthcare provider. A doctor's admittance of their mistake may even prevent a legal action.

The laws governing medical malpractice cases differ from state-to-state.

One study estimated that medical errors kill approximately 200,000 patients every year. However, only 15 percent of these cases resulted in medical malpractice lawsuits against a provider or hospital.

Source: Forbes, "10 Things You Want To Know About Medical Malpractice" Demetrius Cheeks, May 16, 2013

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