elder law medical malpractice

There is much overlap between elder law and medical malpractice. Elder law deals with issues affecting the aging population, including matters related to health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, and protection against elder abuse. Medical malpractice, on the other hand, involves legal action against a healthcare provider for negligence that results in patient harm. The overlap between these two areas of law occurs when elderly individuals are victims of medical malpractice, something that happens often in hospitals and nursing homes.

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient. Elderly individuals often require more medical care than younger individuals, increasing their exposure to potential medical malpractice. When healthcare providers fail to meet the standard of care, they may be held liable for any resulting harm. This standard applies even in the absence of a traditional physician-patient relationship, as long as the healthcare professional undertakes to provide care. In the context of elder law, medical malpractice can manifest in various ways, including misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, and neglect in nursing homes leading to pressure injuries, bed sores, nutrition problems, and more. Elderly patients may also be victims of vicarious liability, where a corporation (such as a hospital or nursing home) is held responsible for the tortious conduct of its employees.

Elder law and medical malpractice overlap significantly due to the vulnerability of elderly individuals to medical negligence. Understanding this intersection is crucial for legal practitioners in these fields to effectively advocate for the rights and interests of elderly clients.