Around the country and in Iowa, medical malpractice is a term used to describe a situation where a health care provider (like a doctor or a nurse) makes a medical error that causes harm to a patient. Malpractice can occur in a variety of different ways, including:
- A missed diagnosis,
- A mistake made during a medical procedure, or
- A delay in treatment.
Medical malpractice isn’t limited to hospital care. Dentists and chiropractors can make bad medical errors just as easily as a medical doctor can. Any medical provider that causes a medical error could potentially be liable for an Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit.
Only Another Doctor Can Label a Case as Medical Malpractice
Although malpractice may seem relatively easy to define, it is not easy to prove under the law. A medical malpractice attorney cannot be the one to say malpractice was committed. Only a doctor is able to do that. No one but another medical provider can analyze your case and testify that medical malpractice occurred.
In order to find out whether the medical treatment was actually malpractice, your attorney will need to gather all of your medical records. After these are gathered, they need to be looked over by a doctor. This doctor needs to have the same qualifications and knowledge as the doctor who hurt you. The doctor examining your records will look them over and decide if the treatment that hurt you was below the “standard of care.”
The “standard of care” is a baseline. It is used to measure whether an average doctor, with the same training and knowledge, would have done the same things that your doctor did. If the answer to that question is no, medical malpractice may have occurred.
As you might imagine, for an Iowa medical malpractice case, it’s hard to find Iowa doctors that will publicly testify against another Iowa doctor. Usually, it’s out-of-state doctors who will review malpractice victims’ cases and give their expert opinion. Although they may not be local to Iowa, these experts can still give opinions about medical errors.
Why Aren’t There More Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
Although medical errors are surprisingly common, Iowa medical malpractice lawsuits are not. The primary reason for this are the costs involved in medical malpractice cases. The costs to pursue a potential malpractice case can range between $50,000 to $100,000 or more. Gathering medical records and hiring experts to analyze your case is extremely costly.
Unfortunately, many medical errors go unpunished because it simply costs too much money to file a lawsuit. Unless you have been seriously and permanently harmed, it’s likely that suing your medical provider will not put any money in your pocket.
If you have been permanently injured by a medical error, or if a loved one has died as a result of a medical error, feel free to call our office at 1-319-774-1542 for a free consultation.