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What Is Medical Malpractice? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is Medical Malpractice?
  • 0:41 Examples of Medical…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lynee Carter
When being taken care of by healthcare professionals, it's important that patients feel safe. However, there can be times when a healthcare provider fails to follow certain standards in the profession, which leads to medical malpractice.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when health care professionals neglect to provide appropriate care to patients, resulting in injuries and deaths. The care falls below the level of practice that should be followed in healthcare.

Federal laws, state laws, and professional organizations define this level as the standards of care, which include behaviors health care professionals follow to ensure patients receive the best care that is free from harm. How a health care professional treats a patient should be similar to what the majority of other health care professionals do. When this does not happen, they can be accused of medical malpractice, and in some cases the patient may choose to sue.

Examples of Medical Malpractices

In order to be guilty of medical malpractice, the health care professional must have performed an error or failed to do an action that resulted in patient harm. There are many areas in practice that it can involve.

For starters, medical malpractice may involve medications. Here are some examples of this:

  • Before medication is prescribed for a patient, the doctor does not review the patient's allergies, which causes an allergic reaction.
  • A nurse administers the wrong dose of medication, causing the patient's blood pressure to drop severely.
  • A patient has an adverse reaction to the medication because the pharmacist dispensed the wrong one.

In addition, medical malpractice can involve treatments. Some examples of this include:

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