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Who else may be to blame for adverse medical events?

Any time a medical error occurs, it can have devastating consequences for a patient. However, while many people are quick to blame medical workers for an unfortunate outcome, the fact is that not all adverse medical events are the fault of doctors or nurses.

There are situations in which someone besides hospital staff is to blame for a negative outcome.

Who else may be responsible?

Medical cases can be highly complex, especially when a patient’s condition is not well-understood or when they see several providers. Thus, it can be a mistake to assume a medical professional is to blame before a thorough investigation.

Other parties could also carry responsibility for a specific medical outcome, including:

  1. The patient – A patient who fails to disclose underlying conditions or does not comply with medical orders before or after a procedure can be at least partially at fault if they experience a medical setback.
  2. A third-party: Makers of defective products, pharmaceutical companies and others who may have no direct contact with a patient can still be responsible for adverse events.
  3. No one: There are no guarantees when it comes to medical procedures and treatments. And despite everyone’s best efforts, a patient can get sick or hurt. In some cases, no one made any mistake that caused a preventable error.

Considering all the people that may or may not affect a patient’s care, thorough investigation and testimony can be necessary before parties know who is at fault.

The cost of jumping to conclusions

When people make assumptions about medical malpractice, like automatically blaming a doctor, they can trigger expensive, unnecessary litigation, legal motions and considerable distress. Unfortunately, there are a host of misconceptions that people have about this area of law.

For instance, many believe that medical errors are the third leading cause of death because of some widely spread statistics. However, as this article discusses, this is not the case. The reality of how common medical mistakes are is far more complex than people think and individual studies show.

Unfortunately, people often make decisions based on information like this: incomplete, oversimplified and misleading. 

Because of this, it is crucial for doctors, nurses and hospital staff to not panic if they face accusations of negligence.

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