Health is often defined as the absence of disease or illness. The most obvious cases of medical malpractice can often be identified when a patient was in their usual state of health but then, after some treatment or lack thereof, suffered significant disease, illness, or death, resulting in a significant decline in health.
A healthy patient going in for a routine, straightforward procedure should not die.
A healthy patient with an easily treatable or preventable condition should recover.
Even a relatively unhealthy patient who has one or more illnesses or diseases has some expected outcome, and when the actual outcome is hugely different from their expected outcome or something catastrophic happens which cannot easily be attributed to a pre-existing condition, serious questions are raised as to (1) what went wrong and (2) was this malpractice?
If a healthy patient suffers a horrendous outcome, serious questions need to be asked about medical malpractice. An investigation should be conducted and figure out what was the standard of care, was the standard of care met, and if it wasn't, did such a deviation from the standard of care cause the harm that was suffered.
Patients and families who have experienced unforeseen bad outcomes need to make sure they talk to medical-legal experts who can help them request medical records and review the care and treatment.
Too often, doctors deny and defend bad care as unavoidable, unfortunate risks or complications.
However, given the rampant prevalence of medical errors, we should never assume it was just a bad outcome and nothing different could have been done.
Patients and families need to have a very low threshold for suspecting medical malpractice.