When is a medical complication considered medical negligence?

Infections and other medical complications can occur even after a visit to the best hospitals in Pennsylvania. After all, medical practitioners, despite their education, training, numerous years of experience and exceptional skill, are only human and prone to possible errors. However, not all complications are caused by human error, some are just a patient's bodily responses to medication, operation or treatment and are considered normal reactions. So how does a patient know if the complication is medical negligence or just within the norm?

Negligence, in terms of medical malpractice, includes errors in treatment, diagnosis or the management of an illness. Generally, negligence occurs when doctors deviate from the practice of standard care and it results in the worsened condition or death of a patient.

A hospital can also be negligent. A hospital which has sanitation problems, medication errors and medical practitioners who are inadequately trained and practice improper care can be negligent. Understaffed hospitals are also prone to errors.

If a patient suspects negligence, then the patient can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This legal action can hold a medical practitioner or hospital responsible for negligence. The lawsuit may result in monetary awards to help a patient or the patient's family, along with the damages including medical expenses and corrective treatment as well as pain and suffering.

Patients, however, must remember that Pennsylvania has a two-year statute of limitation for such lawsuits. This means that a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within two years of the time when the alleged medical negligence occurred.

A patient's family can file the legal action on behalf of a patient that died as a result of medical negligence. Consultation with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney can help a patient or a patient's family with the merits of the case.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Medical Malpractice In-Depth," Accessed Aug. 31, 2014

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