Basically, medical malpractice is a healthcare provider not following established rules. Just like pilots, bus drivers, construction workers, lawyers, teachers, and every walk of life, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, hospitals, HMOs all have rules to follow. We usually call these patient safety rules - rules to keep all patients safe.
Here are some examples of medical malpractice we've seen in D.C., Maryland and Virginia:
An HMO and a doctor did not follow up on a test they ordered and no one told the patient about the results - they told her they'd call if there was anything wrong. They never looked at the test results that showed a blood clot, or deep vein thrombosis, that became a fatal pulmonary embolism a few days later.
A hospital and nurse that didn't monitor a pregnant woman's labor - didn't check in on her enough and call the doctor when there were signs that the baby was in distress and a doctor who didn't come in to the hospital to evaluate the patient's condition himself. The baby was not delivered in time and has cerebral palsy and brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
A hospital and doctor who didn't take the time to correctly calculate a pregnant woman's due date and age of her fetus and because they did not check their dates, sent the patient home without treatment that would have prolonged the pregnancy.
Many times, medical malpractice boils down to a lack of communication, or someone being in a rush to discharge a patient, or not following up on test results from a test that was ordered - simple things that can be avoided that can cause significant injuries for a patient, especially a child.