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The difference between complications and medical malpractice

When you are a patient in a surgery that did not go entirely to plan, it is likely that you will have had a long recovery process and wondered whether the traumatic experience that you endured was acceptable under the law. Although things can go wrong in a surgical procedure, sometimes the surgeon or medical provider makes mistakes that are negligent, and when this is the case, legal action can be taken.

If you are considering whether you are able to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Georgia, it is important that you take the time to understand the difference between a medical complication and medical malpractice.

What is a medical complication?

A medical complication is an undesirable occurrence during the medical procedure that has its root cause in a pre-existing factor. This essentially means that this undesirable occurrence, for example a surprisingly low heart rate, was not directly caused by a fault in the procedure, but in a factor that is related to the patient's health. Therefore, the most competent doctors cannot prevent complications, but they can identify the risk factor of complications occurring before the operation takes place.

What is considered medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a situation when the medical provider did not exercise the competence or the responsibility that is expected of him or her. Therefore, in order to file a successful medical malpractice claim, it must be shown that their actions meant that they worsened the situation, and another competent doctor would have been able to prevent the outcome.

If you believe that you may have been a victim of medical malpractice in Georgia, it is important to take action to investigate.

Source: Kevin MD, "Surgical error: The difference between mistake and complication," accessed May 02, 2018

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