Sometimes we refer to medical negligence or medical malpractice as “running a medical red light”. In other words, medical negligence is when a doctor or other healthcare provider does something or does not do something that other doctors agree is outside of what they consider reasonable given the circumstances.
It is a two-step process.
- To prove a doctor was negligent, you first have to prove that the doctor’s care or treatment was not acceptable. However, that does not mean that a bad result equals negligence. If another doctor may have done it differently or doctors agree that bad things can happen even when a doctor is doing the right thing (risk of the procedure), that is not enough to prove the doctor committed malpractice. The other healthcare providers have to believe that the doctor did not act within the standard of care.
- Next, if you prove the doctor was negligent, then you have to prove that the negligence made a significant difference or caused a significant harm. If a cancer diagnosis is missed, but then found six months later, and the doctor says that all of the treatment would have been the same and the odds of beating the cancer would have been the same even it had been diagnosed earlier, then that may mean you do not have both of the elements you need to win: essentially no harm, no foul.