A plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must demonstrate that a health care provider owed a duty of care. To establish this, the patient must show that there was a relationship with that provider when the malpractice took place. Generally, it must be shown that the relationship was voluntary.
This may be supported by either the patient's medical record or by testimony. If a health care provider owes a duty of care, it must show that the degree of care offered met appropriate standards. For instance, a gynecologist must take actions that an average gynecologist would take in a given scenario based on the knowledge available to him or her at the time any alleged malpractice occurred.
A patient who has been harmed as a result of hospital negligence may wish to seek legal action against the facility. It may also be advisable to take legal action against the health care practitioner who committed the error or other parties who may have had a role in the negligent act. An attorney may be able to review a patient's medical record or take statements from those involved to determine how to proceed in the case.
Proving that a health care facility or practitioner failed to exhibit the requisite standard of care is a hurdle that is sometimes not easily cleared. In order to do so, an attorney for a patient who has been harmed will review the relevant medical records and in most cases obtain the opinions of medical experts. Damages that are often sought in a medical malpractice lawsuit can include the costs of necessary medical care and treatment, lost wages and other applicable amounts.