Hospitals can be scary and unsettling anytime a person is required to go, no matter the reason. No one volunteers to go to the hospital, and often, no one wants to go even when they actually need to. Some people may even fear that they will be further injured by improper care while in the hospital. Medical malpractice occurs when medical personnel make an error in judgment and cause a patient some type of medical harm.

A man from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, was taken to a hospital in Pittsburgh for a serious medical condition. The initial diagnosis by the medical staff was that the man had a brain tumor that would require surgery. When the man arrived at the hospital, he was scheduled for surgery four days later, but his condition worsened and he required medical care sooner than was scheduled. The doctor on this man’s case was made aware of his dire condition but did not respond to the emergency situation. The man died the next day. Based on a finding of medical malpractice, a jury awarded the patient’s family over $14 million in damages.

Medical malpractice is a suit that is brought by those patients harmed by the negligence of a medical professional. Because this is a negligence claim, the person bringing the claim has to prove that the doctor or nurse owed a duty to the patient, that this duty was breached and that the breach was the proximate cause of the injury suffered by the patient. The last element of a medical malpractice claim that must be proven is the damages.

Source: UPI, “Pittsburgh hospital must pay $14.2 million malpractice award,” November 5, 2013