Law 101: The Five Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
Quiz: Which of the following scenarios contains ALL of the necessary elements for a medical malpractice case?
a) A physician writes a prescription for the wrong medication dosage – a dose which would be lethal to the patient. A pharmacist spots the mistake prior to the patient being given the medication.
b) A sponge is left inside a patient after surgery and is not discovered until months later. The patient needs a second surgery to remove the sponge.
c) A nurse was supposed to administer epinephrine via IM injection but mistakenly put it in the patient's IV. Nurse immediately realizes error and notifies supervisor. Patient experiences brief heart palpitations.
d) All of the above
According to a 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, by age 65 most physicians (75% in low-risk specialties and up to 99% in high-risk specialties) will have faced a medical malpractice claim. Most cases, however, are dismissed, withdrawn or settled before ever reaching trial, but the process can be slow, expensive and stressful.