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Cardiovascular Therapeutics

The plaintiff is/ was the patient, or a legally designated party acting on behalf of the patient, or – in the case of a wrongful death suit – the executor or administrator of a deceased patient’s estate.

The defendant is the health care provider. Although a ‘health care provider’ usually refers to a physician, the term includes any medical care provider, including dentists, nurses, and therapists. As illustrated in Columbia Medical Center of Las Colinas v Bush, 122 S.W. 3d 835 “following orders” may not protect nurses and other non-physicians from liability when committing negligent acts. Relying on vicarious liability or direct corporate negligence, claims may also be brought against hospitals, clinics, managed care organizations or medical corporations for the mistakes of their employees and contractors.[8]

Common claims

In 2013, BMJ Open performed a study in which they found that “failure to diagnose” accounted for the largest portion of medical malpractice claims brought against health professionals. Furthermore, the study found that the most common result of this negligence was death of the patient.[9] The other most common categories of malpractice include negligent treatment and failure to warn.

Thus, when a patient claims injury as the result of a medical professional’s care, a malpractice case will most often be based upon one of three theories:[10]

  1. Failure to diagnose: a medical professional is alleged to have failed to diagnose an existing medical condition, or to have provided an incorrect diagnoses for the patient’s medical condition.
  2. Negligent treatment: a medical professional is alleged to have made a mistake that a reasonably competent professional in the same position would not have made.
  3. Failure to warn: a medical professional is alleged to have treated the patient without first warning the patient of known risks and obtaining the patient’s informed consent to that course of treatment.