Law 101: The Five Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case

So what is medical malpractice? Simply making a mistake does not generally mean that medical malpractice has occurred – all of the essential elements of medical malpractice, including injury and damage, must be present in order for the case to stand up in court.

Quiz Answer: b. The surgeon and his/her team owed a duty of care to the patient, that duty was breached by leaving a sponge inside the patient after surgery. The breach caused injury – the patient was now required to undergo another surgery. The surgeon’s care fell below the applicable standard of care for surgeons, and the patient’s injury resulted in damages (lost wages when patient couldn’t work, medical bills, etc). Answer “a” was incorrect because the patient was never affected by the physician’s mistake, and answer “c” was incorrect because the error did not result in damages.