Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers have a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care to their patients. Unfortunately, health care providers are sometimes derelict in this duty. When a health care provider fails to provide the reasonable standard of care to a patient in his charge and that patient is injured as a result, this is referred to as medical malpractice negligence. If a patient believes a doctor or other health care professional has acted negligently, he has a right to sue the doctor for compensation for the injuries he suffered.
Many people are familiar with medical malpractice negligence lawsuits that are filed against doctors. Any health care provider may have such a lawsuit filed against him, however. This includes people who work in nursing as well as dentists, hospitals, and other types of health care facilities. Essentially, any person or organization that has a duty to provide competent care may face a medical malpractice negligence lawsuit at some point in time. It's important to note that the filing of this type of lawsuit doesn't automatically mean the health care provider is guilty; many health care providers are able to mount successful defenses in such cases.
A health care provider isn't necessarily guilty of medical malpractice negligence any time a patient's care takes an unfortunate turn. In some cases, health care providers do their best to provide sound diagnosis and effective treatment, but the outcome is poor. For example, a surgeon may perform an operation to rid a person of cancer and be unable to cure him because the cancer has spread too far. This would not be a case for medical malpractice negligence, as the patient received the reasonable standard of care, and his cancer was simply too progressed for it to work.
There are many examples of situations that may be considered medical malpractice. For example, if a doctor prescribes a medication that is known to interact dangerously with another medication the patient is taking, this may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Likewise, if a doctor provides an incorrect diagnosis and treats the patient for the wrong condition, this may be considered medical malpractice as well. By the same token, a dentist may accidentally remove a tooth that was healthy or injure his patient because of unsafe practices. In some cases, surgeons have even removed the wrong organ from their patients, left surgical tools in patients' bodies, and operated on the wrong patient, all appropriate situations for a medical malpractice negligence lawsuit.