What is Medical Malpractice? Lawyer John McKiggan Explains

What is Medical Malpractice? You may have a medical malpractice claim if you have been injured as a result of a preventable error or negligent care while receiving medical treatment.

A famous study by Harvard Medical School determined that over half of all injuries caused by medical management (in other words, not caused by the patient’s initial injury or disease) were preventable, and another quarter of those incidents were caused by negligence.

A Canadian Medical Association journal article revealed the following:

  • As many as 24,000 patients die each year due to adverse events, also known as medical mistakes.
  • Over 85,000 patients admitted to Canadian acute care hospitals each year have an adverse event happen to them.
  • Over 7.5% of adult patients experience an adverse event after being admitted to Canadian hospitals.
  • Over 5.25% of adults will possibly be given incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage.
  • 37% of adverse events can be prevented.
  • Almost 25% of preventable adverse events are due to medication error.

A report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) indicated that nearly one quarter of Canadian adults (5.2 million people) reported that they, or a member of their family, had experienced a “preventable adverse event” (medical error).

More than 20 years ago I represented the family of a wife and mother who died suddenly, shortly after taking medication that had been given to her by her family doctor. Her family doctor had been treating her for many years for asthma. The medication the doctor prescribed was very dangerous when taken by anyone on asthma medication.

The family doctor was either not aware of the dangerous side effects of the medication he prescribed, or he had forgotten that his patient had been taking asthma medication for many years.

As a result of this completely preventable medical error, a husband lost his wife of 20 years, and their two daughters lost the love and companionship of their mother. We successfully sued the doctor for compensation for loss of the care guidance and companionship of the family’s wife and mother.

This is the kind of preventable medical error I have seen time and time again over the last two decades. It is why I have dedicated my practice to helping patients and families who have suffered a loss because of medical malpractice.

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