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Ethics and Medical Malpractice

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Ethics and Medical Malpractice

When doctors fail to live up to the standard of care consistent with the best practices in the medical community, they may be held responsible for medical malpractice. For doctors, the standard of care also includes ethical treatment of patients, so in some cases, an ethics violation may be grounds for medical malpractice. In other cases, it may be grounds for a related negligence claim.

Ethics Violations That Can Be Considered Medical Malpractice

In general, ethics violations are not considered grounds for medical malpractice. They are considered outside the scope of the law.

Some ethics violations may dramatically affect a patient’s level of care. For example, improperly prescribing medication because a doctor is being paid to promote it may be considered medical malpractice.

Failing to obtain informed consent for a medical procedure before beginning it may also be considered medical malpractice.

Non-Disclosure of Errors as Medical Malpractice?

Failing to disclose a medical error is considered a serious breach of medical ethics. However, it’s unclear whether this is considered medical malpractice. It is more likely to be medical malpractice if it affects a patient’s knowledge or ability to get necessary follow-up care, but otherwise may be considered simple negligence (see below).

Doctors, nurses, and others who go along with concealing medical errors may also be named as parties in a medical malpractice lawsuit, especially if they played an active role (such as helping to modify medical documents).

Ironically, disclosing medical errors may protect doctors from medical malpractice lawsuits.

Medical Malpractice vs. Simple Negligence

Negligence is when someone acts in a way that leads to harm of another person, but without the intent to harm. It can be applied in any type of accident case, from a car accident to a slip and fall accident. When a doctor’s ethical violation is not related to a person’s medical care, but nonetheless results in injury, a negligence lawsuit may be brought. This may extend the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit and may loosen evidence requirements, but the court is very strict about when negligence lawsuits can be brought against doctors.

If you are unsure whether your doctor’s conduct constitutes medical malpractice, we can help. Please contact Andres & Berger in Haddonfield, New Jersey for a free initial case evaluation.

Kathryn N.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Mr. Andres is reliable, honest, driven, knowledgeable, compassionate and highly respected among colleagues and medical professionals. He stands by his word and can be trusted. He and Gail have fought for me during times when I wasn’t strong enough to fight for myself. The Andres & Berger law firm understands Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Mr. Andres thank you for your support and guidance over the years. I consider you my fierce, tenacious attorney and dear friend.

Mike V.

Mike Berger of Andres & Berger handled my case over a six year period. He and the team examined every detail to get the best outcome. They were honest, candid and communicative throughout the whole process. It was a long ordeal but could not have been handled more professionally. I highly recommend.

Yadira R.

I just want to say thank you for what you have done for me and my family throughout the years. You made us feel like family, not just clients. You were always very detailed when it came to our cases and tried everything in your power to get us all the help we needed.

Gregory W.

Our family appreciated your unfailing attention to detail. There were last minute snags, we seldom worried that something would fall through the cracks, but you anticipated every contingency. Your firm demonstrated a veracity for the truth, a strong work ethic and overall impeccable character in dealing with our case.

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