Can an unsuccessful procedure be considered malpractice?

Operations and treatments are not always successful. An unfortunate outcome or injury - even death – may occur, but unexpected circumstances do not mean that the doctor botched a surgery or treatment or committed medical malpractice.

The law recognizes that medicine is not a precise science and that doctors cannot guarantee results. However, the doctor is liable if he or she does not live up to the appropriate professional standards.

Medical malpractice simply means that a doctor did not use the ordinary skill and care used by other doctors in his or her specialty in handling a similar case, and the patient suffered as a result. Examples are if a doctor may commit medical malpractice if he or she fails to diagnose an illness, fails to do tests, makes surgical errors, delays treatment, or makes a medication error.