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Is a bad outcome considered medical malpractice?

A serious illness resulting from a failed medical procedure or course of treatment is devastating for you or a family member. You may be contemplating a malpractice suit against your doctor. It’s important to have the facts about the differences between medical malpractice and a bad outcome. 

A bad medical outcome does not automatically mean that medical malpractice has occurred. Even when a doctor provides exceptional care, the patient’s condition can fail to improve or deteriorate. 

When a bad outcome may not be medical malpractice

Unfortunate results can occur despite competent intervention by a doctor. An outcome that negatively impacts a patient is not considered medical malpractice if:  

  • The patient’s condition worsens
    A patient’s condition may unexpectedly decline. Medical malpractice has likely not happened if the doctor has correctly diagnosed and treated the condition with sound, careful decisions 
  • The patient’s condition is untreatable
    Some health problems are not curable. Medical malpractice laws cannot offer a remedy for tragic outcomes such as terminal illness 

Medical malpractice in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, a medical malpractice claim requires a Certificate of Merit submitted by a credible medical professional. The certificate must allege: 

  • The care, skill or knowledge exercised were less than the required acceptable professional standards, and this conduct caused the injury 
  • The defendant deviated from an acceptable professional standard 

While a bad outcome is not always evidence of medical malpractice, your grieving family wants to seek recourse. Having the medical malpractice facts will help you to protect your family’s rights during a profoundly difficult time.