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Malpractice Litigation

  • By: Richard M. Frankel
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Medical malpractice is defined as treatment by a health care professional that does not meet the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient. Negligent medical outcomes are the basis for medical malpractice litigation. Most medical malpractice cases involve errors, and the most frequent source of error is communication, either among team members or between the physician, patient, and family members.

In a comprehensive study of malpractice, investigators who reviewed records of all hospitalizations in the state of New York found that 1 percent of patients experienced adverse outcomes due to negligence. Given these findings, one out of every 100 patients in the state of New York could have sued for medical malpractice at the time of the ...

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