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Best Defenses Against Medical Malpractice

— March 27, 2020

The expenses related to medical malpractice in the U.S. is at a whopping $55.6 billion annually, at least $45.6 billion is spent owing to defensive medicine practiced by doctors.

The physicians we rely on for taking care of our health and treatment, should not cause patients harm or make their existing ailments or injuries worse. In case they do, you must hold them accountable for the damage caused via a medical malpractice claim. We are not saying that all doctors are the same. Many medical professionals treat patients with care and abide by medical ethics and codes of conduct. Such doctors shouldn’t be penalized by law for something they did not do. Then, these things that seem simple apparently are complex in practical terms. 

According to an article published on, the expenses related to medical malpractice in the U.S. is at a whopping $55.6 billion annually, at least $45.6 billion is spent owing to defensive medicine practiced by doctors so that they can avoid lawsuits. Did you know that the amount constitutes 2.4 percent of the country’s total health care cost? Therefore, patients should become aware of their rights when it comes to their health and proper treatment in a medical facility. Whenever you visit a doctor’s clinic, if the expenses turn out to be too much, it may indicate that there is something wrong. There are many defenses for doctors charged of misconduct and this article will highlight a few of these defenses. 

Contributory negligence 

Many times, medical experts or doctors are not the sole ones to take responsibility for some patient injury. Sometimes a doctor can prove that the injury wouldn’t have taken place at all if the patient was more careful. In some cases, patients do become negligent, thus somewhat responsible for their injuries and in such scenarios, the doctor has a defense against a malpractice claim. 

Let us clarify this point with the help of an appropriate example. When a patient mixes prescriptions without the doctor’s knowledge or the patient did not reveal the essential components of his medical condition or history, the doctor can use it as a defense against a malpractice suit. 


A medical professional is accountable for taking care of patients from health risks that they can perceive or have knowledge of from the beginning. In simple words, doctors are answerable for protecting patients against predictable threats or risks. The physician may assert that a specific injury was due to an unforeseeable outcome of medical therapy or treatment. For instance, there are patients who have severe injuries because of the side effects of any medication prescribed to them by a physician. In such a situation, the doctor can assert that the side effects were uncommon and therefore, unforeseeable. It is a line of defense doctors can take when it comes to medical malpractice charges. 

Typical negligence defenses

Image of an Operating Room
Operating Room; image courtesy of Piron Guillaume via Unsplash,

As far as medical malpractice is concerned, it is a type of negligence, and therefore several of the protections permitted against standard negligence claims are feasible against claims related to unprofessional conduct. For instance, a doctor might dispute that his medical care was in order with the best standards maintained in the medical occupation. Again, the doctor may assert that the patient’s injuries did not occur due to some medical injury. It is true that invalidating a component of inattention is commonly used in health care defense in case of medical misconduct, yet there are many other medical defenses which might apply, too.

Respectable Minority Principle

A couple of times, physicians or medical professionals make a decision to follow a new or for that matter a more essential sort of treatment to treat a critical patient effectively. Though the decision might place the medical expert outside of mainstream healthcare, the doctor may have a compelling defense against a medical negligence claim if a reputable minority of medical experts supports that form of treatment. Then, the physician should educate the patient about the line of treatment as well as about the possible risks entailed. If a doctor fails to notify a patient about the possible health risks or hazards, it would result in a lack of informed consent claim. 

Statutes of Limitations

There are state laws to impose time constraints so that some action could be brought for medical misconduct. A few states have embraced the discovery rule that means that the statute of limitations period does not start until some injury is, in reality, determined. If the physician or doctor can prove that the patient found out about the injury or damage at a definite point and that the statute of limitations has since run, the case might be dismissed.

Good Samaritan Laws

There are some states with Good Samaritan laws, protecting people who come to the assistance of those in medical suffering or pain. Physicians, nurses, and other people from the medical field are frequently incorporated in such laws. It implies if a physician helps a person in some crisis, he or she would be defended from civil responsibility in case anything wrong crops up during the rescue. Usually, a physician who willingly assists a person owes that individual the similar duty of care as well as treatment just as a sensibly experienced doctor under identical or comparable situations.

Someone else accountable for the patient injury 

If a physician or medical professional elucidates all the hazards to a patient, and that patient concurs to take such risks, in such a case, the doctor is not accountable if such hazards lead to any kind of injury. The physician would maintain that the patient’s specific injury was a documented risk of the medical process and the danger was correctly elucidated to the patient. In simple words, the patient gave knowledgeable approval to go through the risks associated with the medical procedure.

An injury that already exists

The physician might assert that the injury resulted from a preceding ailment or medical condition. For instance, the medical professional might argue that disabling back pain was not the outcome of any neglectful surgical treatment, but because of a pre-existing condition like arthritis.

Final words

When it comes to medical malpractice, it can be a perplexing and complicated part of the law. Therefore, you need to get in touch with a legal expert to stay protected against medical misconduct. 

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