Medical malpractice is a serious matter for all parties involved. The person filing the lawsuit has been wronged in their eyes, and they want some semblance of justice. The person or institution on the receiving end of that lawsuit is trying to maintain their reputation and defend themselves accordingly. When you hear about medical malpractice cases, it is easy to think that the plaintiff is always in the right. However, there are ways that medical professionals and institutions can defend themselves in these cases.
First, it is important to understand that medical malpractice falls under general negligence law. This means that all defenses used for general negligence cases apply to medical malpractice cases. Claims could be made that medical standards were upheld during a procedure that the plaintiff claims was negligent or substandard (as an example).
Second, there are times when supposed negligence actually occurred, at least in part, due to the patient. This is called contributory negligence, and an example of it would be if a patient does something that a doctor specifically told them not to do — and then that action led to complications or injury.
Third and finally, medical professionals are protected in emergency scenarios when they are being Good Samaritans. So if CPR is necessary while a doctor or nurse is off duty and they perform it, they can’t be held liable for medical malpractice if an injury occurred.
Defenses to medical malpractice come in many forms, and it is imperative for those on both sides — the plaintiff and the defendant — to know these aspects.