How loss of chance of survival illness leads to medical malpractice

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Those impacted by medical malpractice, whether family, friends or the individual actually harmed understand its lingering effects. From short and long-term health consequences to financial distress, medical malpractice often leaves lasting scars. One consequence is a shorter lifespan, a result of a medical professional’s improper diagnosis, surgical procedures, and other similar malpractice issues.

Reduced Chance of Survival

Often, a plaintiff alleging medical malpractice attempts to prove that the defendant medical professional was negligent in performance relating to the patient’s illness. In other words, the physician’s medical malpractice must have been the cause of the injury leading to the lawsuit. Plaintiffs’ claims can become more challenging when a physician’s malpractice was a contributing but not direct cause of a patient’s death.

Loss of Chance is a tort claim available to speak on behalf of the individual who died. Often times, a decedent’s estate or surviving spouse can file a claim. Specifically, the claim alleges that the physician’s malpractice reduced a decedent’s chance of survival.

For example, an individual improperly diagnosed with the wrong type of cancer and suffered a reduced chance at survival from 40% to 15% could potentially seek the difference in damages. Although the physician who misdiagnosed the decedent wasn’t the direct cause of death, a decedent’s estate could still hold the physician responsible for that particular portion of the decedent’s outcome.

Loss of chance isn’t recognized in every legal jurisdiction, but Missouri is a state that has affirmed it as part of a medical malpractice claim.

Medical Practice Claims

Medical malpractice claims of all kinds are often challenging to prove, but nobody should experience the process alone. Individuals looking to begin a loss of chance claim may feel better with a supportive legal team. Each claim provides a unique set of facts and circumstances, and aggressive advocacy can provide individuals expert advice on each situation.


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