In the United States it is estimated that 44,000 to 98,000 people die every year as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented. When a person dies due to the negligence of another person it is called wrongful death. Wrongful death can include death that results from medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is the failure of a medical professional, such as a doctor or a nurse, to render care or treatment in accordance with accepted standards of care.
In order for there to be wrongful death due to medical malpractice there needs to be a death and the death needs to be a direct result of the malpractice. Just because a patient is a victim of malpractice dies does not necessarily mean that the malpractice was the direct cause of the death. Sometimes it is clear whether the malpractice caused the death and sometimes it is not.
An example of where the connection between the malpractice and the death is not definite is if a person died of complications due to lung cancer while being treated for a knee replacement. That does not mean that the knee replacement necessarily caused the patient to die. Cases where the malpractice clearly caused the patient’s death is if the patient was mistakenly given the wrong drugs, the patient was not given life saving techniques or treatment, or mismanagement of care lead to the patient’s death.
Wrongful death is a tort action against a person who can be held liable for a patient’s death. This claim is a civil claim usually brought by the relatives of the decedent. In this type of action the family does not sue for the harm inflicted on the decedent. The family sues for the damages caused to them resulting from the loss of their loved one. These damages can include loss of: quality of life, love and emotional support, and financial support.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.