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The challenge of linking medical malpractice with injuries

Medical malpractice is all too common with everything from surgical errors to diagnostic and medication errors being committed in Kentucky and across the U.S. When malpractice, or the failure of a doctor to live up to accepted standards of conduct, leads to an injury, it may form the basis for a claim. Yet linking malpractice with some injuries can be difficult.

For example, the negligence of a surgeon may not necessarily be behind an injury if the risk for such an injury was accepted beforehand. Some surgical procedures may result in complications without the doctor being complicit in them.

A similar fact must be recognized in the case of orthopedic injuries. Fractures can sometimes heal improperly despite the diligent care of a doctor, leaving patients with lingering issues, especially in regards to mobility. If these issues can arise in the absence of negligence, then they cannot be associated solely with negligence. Some acts of negligence, though, such as the failure to align the bone, can be said to cause an injury within a reasonable degree of certainty.

Delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses may be linked to the worsening of a condition, but when cancer is involved, it is harder to prove causation. Cancer requires extensive treatment and carries with it a higher mortality rate than other conditions.

Even if causation seems easy to prove, such as in the case of a wrong-site surgery, victims may want a lawyer to assist with their case. There are other components to medical malpractice; for instance, there must have been a doctor-patient relationship prior to the incident, and the patient must have been reasonable in his or her actions as well. A lawyer might hire investigators to obtain as much proof as possible before proceeding to settlement negotiations.

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