Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
March 29, 2014

Types of Medical Malpractice

The legal phrase “medical malpractice” refers to any type of professional negligence a healthcare professional or provider makes that results in harm, injury, or death to a patient. The plaintiff must prove the treatment he/she received was substandard or fell below accepted medical standards. Learning the most common types of medical malpractice can help you know whether you have grounds to file in Fort Lauderdale. The leading causes are as follows:


It is a doctor’s duty to listen to a patient’s symptoms and make an accurate and timely diagnosis. It is not malpractice if a doctor makes an honest mistake that any reasonable or prudent medical professional would have in the same circumstances. Misdiagnosis can be malpractice, however, when the doctor reasonably should have diagnosed the condition without delay.

Improper treatment

Sometimes a medical professional is simply incompetent or incapable of delivering the appropriate standard of care. A medic who is poorly trained, intoxicated, careless, or otherwise negligent may be guilty of malpractice if these downfalls result in patient harm. Examples include poor pre-operative care, lack of sanitation, and abusing or neglecting patients.

Medication errors

These mistakes can occur anywhere down the line of people who handle a patient’s medications, from the drug manufacturer to the pharmacy administering the prescription. Issues with medications can lead to overdose, adverse drug interactions, allergic reactions, or poor outcomes from lack of proper medication.

Childbirth injuries

The labor and delivery processes require utmost care from all physicians involved. Someone may be guilty of malpractice if you or your child sustained an injury during birth, such as excessive bleeding, lack of oxygen to the infant’s brain, shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy, or fractures. A doctor’s negligence can contribute to these mother and infant harms.

Equipment failure

The hospital may be liable for patient harms if they arise because of equipment malfunctions. If a hospital employee or the institution itself failed to properly maintain and check life-saving equipment, such as heart monitors and breathing machines, the equipment’s failure and subsequent patient harms could come down to hospital liability. If a product defect caused the harm, the manufacturer may be to blame.

Note that a poor patient outcome does not automatically point to medical negligence. To have this type of case in Florida, the plaintiff must be able to prove the defendant owed him/her a duty of care, breached this duty, and this breach caused the patient’s harms. If you aren’t sure whether your recent injuries qualify as grounds for a med mal claim, speak to our Fort Lauderdale attorneys at Kelley/Uustal.

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