3 Tort Examples in Healthcare

Torts in healthcare refer to acts of negligence or wrongdoing committed by healthcare providers that result in harm to patients. Understanding tort law in the context of healthcare is crucial for both patients and medical professionals. In this blog post, we will explore various tort examples in healthcare, discuss the legal implications, and answer some frequently asked questions on the topic.

Tort Examples in Healthcare

Tort Examples in Healthcare

Here are some examples of torts in healthcare that illustrate various types of legal issues that can arise:


Negligence is the most common type of tort in healthcare, where a healthcare provider fails to provide a reasonable standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient.

  1. Failure to diagnose a life-threatening condition, resulting in patient harm.
  2. Delayed diagnosis causing the progression of a treatable disease.
  3. Administering the wrong medication to a patient.
  4. Prescribing the wrong dosage of medication, causing an overdose or ineffective treatment.
  5. Failing to order necessary tests, leading to a missed diagnosis.
  6. Ignoring or misinterpreting test results, resulting in incorrect treatment.
  7. Anesthesia errors, such as administering too much or too little anesthesia.
  8. Injuring a patient during surgery, such as cutting a blood vessel or nerve.
  9. Performing surgery on the wrong body part or patient.
  10. Discharging a patient too early, leading to complications or readmission.
  11. Failing to provide proper post-operative care, resulting in infection or complications.
  12. Neglecting to monitor a patient’s vital signs, causing undetected deterioration.
  13. Failing to obtain informed consent before performing a medical procedure.
  14. Inadequate supervision of medical residents or nursing staff.
  15. Failure to recognize and manage a medical emergency in a timely manner.

See also: 5 Nurse Negligence Examples

Intentional Torts

Intentional torts involve purposeful actions by a healthcare provider that cause harm to a patient, such as assault, battery, or false imprisonment.

  1. Physically assaulting a patient.
  2. Administering a medical procedure without the patient’s consent.
  3. Unlawfully restraining a patient against their will.
  4. Violating a patient’s privacy, such as disclosing medical information without consent.
  5. Intentionally misdiagnosing a patient for financial gain or personal reasons.
  6. Performing unnecessary medical procedures for financial benefit.
  7. Fraudulent billing or charging patients for services not rendered.

Strict Liability

Strict liability refers to situations where a healthcare provider is held responsible for a patient’s injury, even without evidence of negligence or intent to cause harm.

  1. Manufacturing and distributing a defective medical device that causes harm to patients.
  2. Selling contaminated or expired medications.
  3. Failing to warn patients about the risks associated with a medical device or medication.
  4. Inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, leading to patient infections.
  5. Faulty design of a medical device, resulting in patient injury.
  6. Inadequate instructions or warnings provided with a medical product.
  7. Failure to recall a dangerous or defective medical product in a timely manner.
  8. Manufacturing a drug with harmful side effects that were not disclosed to patients and healthcare providers.

People Also Ask

What is the Difference Between Malpractice and Negligence?

Medical malpractice is a specific type of negligence that occurs when a healthcare provider’s actions fall below the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm to the patient. Negligence is a broader term encompassing any failure to exercise reasonable care, which can include medical malpractice.

How Can Healthcare Providers Protect Themselves from Tort Claims?

Healthcare providers can minimize the risk of tort claims by adhering to the established standards of care, maintaining open communication with patients, obtaining informed consent, and keeping accurate and up-to-date medical records. Additionally, obtaining professional liability insurance can help protect providers from potential financial losses due to tort claims.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Healthcare Torts?

The statute of limitations for healthcare torts varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific type of tort involved. Generally, the time limit for filing a claim ranges from one to six years from the date of injury. It is essential to consult with a legal professional to determine the applicable statute of limitations in your case.


Tort law in healthcare is an essential aspect of patient rights and provider responsibilities. By understanding various tort examples and their legal implications, patients can better advocate for their rights, and healthcare providers can take steps to minimize the risk of legal claims. If you believe you have been a victim of a healthcare tort or are a healthcare provider facing a tort claim, it is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney to navigate the complex legal landscape.