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Malpractice can occur in familiar settings

When medical malpractice is mentioned, it's typically thought of as occurring in a high-risk, emergency medical situation such as an operation. Images of a botched surgery with the wrong body part operated on, unintentionally severing an artery or leaving a sponge or other item inside the patient might come to mind. However, for most Georgia residents, the danger of malpractice comes not from a complicated medical procedure but rather from what is generally considered a routine occurrence: a visit to a patient's local ambulatory care facility.

An ambulatory care center, according to health care researchers, is where most Americans interact with medical professionals and receive some form of treatment. Although a variety of medical procedures may be performed at such facilities, like a doctor's office or outpatient facility, most are routine in nature and seemingly carry a low risk of potential medical malpractice issues. However, recent studies prove to the contrary that even everyday interactions between patients and medical providers can result in harm to the patient. More specifically, diagnostic testing errors, medication events and the danger of patient falls top the list of malpractice incidents at ambulatory care facilities.

Not every mistake by a doctor or other medical care provider rises to the level of malpractice. The mistake must be one that the average medical professional would not have made under the same or similar circumstances. It also must be the cause of the patient's harm, and that harm must not have been inevitable no matter what the doctor did or did not do.

The burden is on the patient to establish a claim for medical malpractice, and these cases are typically vigorously defended by the doctors and their insurance carriers. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer may evaluate a specific case and make recommendations on the best way to proceed.

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