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What constitutes medical malpractice?

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Note: The following is a fictional scenario created for illustrative purposes to help our readers in Oklahoma and Arkansas understand the process of proving medical malpractice.


Seeking medical treatment involves placing significant trust in healthcare professionals to accurately diagnose conditions, prescribe appropriate medications, and conduct surgeries with precision. 

Yet, when this trust is breached through professional negligence, the consequences can be both unexpected and devastating. 

Medical malpractice, a critical concern within the healthcare system, is highlighted by a Johns Hopkins University study as the third leading cause of death in the U.S., signaling the urgent need for awareness and action. If you’re in that scenario, here’s what you need to know…

Understanding Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice arises from a healthcare provider’s deviation from the accepted standard of care during patient treatment. 

This deviation, whether through action or inaction, includes errors in diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, or health management. Crucially, it must be proven that such deviation was a substantial factor in causing injury.

Standard of Care – The competence level expected of a reasonably skilled healthcare professional in a similar community under comparable circumstances.

Some of the most common types of malpractice include the following:

  • Wrong-site surgeries
  • Surgeries on the wrong patients
  • Other surgical errors
  • Medication mistakes
  • Misdiagnoses
  • Failures to diagnose
  • Childbirth injuries
  • Anesthesia errors

What Medical Malpractice Is Not

It’s crucial to distinguish between unfortunate outcomes and medical malpractice. Not all adverse medical outcomes are the result of malpractice. Medicine is not an exact science, and even with the best care, treatments can fail, and complications can arise. 

Here are examples of situations that typically do not qualify as medical malpractice:

  • Natural complications
  • Unsatisfactory outcomes.
  • Known risks
  • Non-compliance by the patient
  • Experimental treatments
  • Differences in opinion

For an incident to be considered malpractice, it must be proven that the healthcare provider’s negligence directly caused harm or injury to the patient.

A Fictional Scenario: John’s Journey

Let’s consider a fictional scenario involving John, a patient who underwent surgery. John was supposed to have surgery on his left knee but, due to a mix-up in the hospital’s paperwork, the surgery was performed on his right knee. 

This error led to unnecessary pain, prolonged recovery, and the need for additional surgery on the correct knee.

John’s journey from experiencing this medical error to seeking justice highlights the complexities of proving medical malpractice.


  • Deviation from Accepted Medical Practice: The hospital’s failure to verify the correct site for surgery before the procedure fell below the standard of care expected of a reasonably competent healthcare provider under similar circumstances.
  • Causation: John had to prove that the wrong-site surgery was a substantial factor in causing his subsequent injuries and suffering. Despite the apparent error, establishing that this mistake directly led to his harm was crucial for his case.

This prompted John to seek expertise from The Law Offices of Craig L. Cook.

John: “I just want to ensure this never happens to anyone else.”

CLC: “We’re here to guide you through every step.”

The Role of Expert Testimony

In John’s case, expert testimony played a pivotal role. Medical experts reviewed his medical records, the hospital’s procedures, and the outcomes of the surgery. They provided authoritative opinions that the standard of care was not met and that the deviation directly resulted in John’s injuries. 

This expert analysis is often essential in medical malpractice cases to bridge the gap between medical practice and legal standards.

Why Choose CLC?

With over 40 years of experience in Arkansas and Oklahoma, our team is committed to supporting those affected by medical malpractice. Our approach includes:

  • Thorough Review of Medical Records: Uncovering evidence of negligence through meticulous examination.
  • Collaboration with Medical Experts: Gaining critical insights into breaches of standard care and causation.
  • Advocacy for Maximum Compensation: Ensuring clients receive deserved compensation for their suffering.
  • Holding Healthcare Providers Accountable: Highlighting substandard practices to contribute to safer healthcare environments.


John’s fictional journey underscores the importance of experienced legal representation in medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice in Arkansas or Oklahoma, The Law Offices of Craig L. Cook are ready to assist.

We invite you to reach out for a consultation to discuss your case. Our knowledgeable team will guide you through the legal process, ensuring you receive the support and compensation you deserve.

Contact us today by phone, use our chat box for immediate assistance, or fill out our contact form. Let us advocate for justice and accountability on your behalf.