Medical malpractice cases arise when a patient is harmed by a doctor or nurse (or other medical professional) who fails to provide proper health care treatment. Fortunately, doctors, nurses, and hospitals make mistakes in a small number of cases. But within that small minority of cases, certain types of errors crop up more often than others. Read on to learn about the doctor and hospital mistakes that make up the bulk of medical malpractice lawsuits.
A word of caution on the types of medical errors described below: Keep in mind that just because a doctor made a mistake or a patient was unhappy with a course of treatment or its outcome, that doesn’t mean malpractice necessarily occurred. In order to meet the legal definition of medical malpractice, the doctor or medical provider must have been negligent in some way — meaning the doctor was not reasonably skillful or competent, and that incompetence harmed the patient. (To learn more about what does and does not constitute medical malpractice, see Nolo’s article Medical Malpractice Basics.)