Glossary of Medical Malpractice
G H I
K L M
Q R S
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DES: Diethylstilbestrol (DES) used to be
prescribed to pregnant women believed to need more estrogen to maintain their
pregnancies. Some of the daughters of these women, who were exposed in the womb
to DES, developed a rare form of vaginal cancer.
Damages: Monetary compensation claimed by
a person who has suffered a loss or injury to his person, property or rights as
a result of the negligence or unlawful conduct of another.
Decedent: A dead person.
Decree: An order of the court. A final
decree is one that fully disposes of the litigation.
Default: Failure of either party to file
required documents or appear in a civil case within a certain period of time.
Defendant: The person or party sued in a
civil case or accused in a criminal case.
Deposition: The testimony of a witness,
taken out of court and usually prior to trial.
Direct examination: Questioning of a
witness by the party who calls the witness.
Directed verdict: A judgment entered by
the judge without allowing the jury to participate.
Disciplinary Hearing: A hearing or
professional review conducted by any state or federal administrative agency,
licensing or regulatory authority responsible for regulating professional
Discovery: The pre-trial process in which
one party discovers the evidence that will be relied upon at trial by the
Dismemberment: Loss of sight means total
loss of sight which cannot be restored by surgical or other means; loss of hand
means that a hand is permanently severed at or above the wrist; and loss of foot
means that a foot is permanently severed at or above the ankle.
Dismissal with prejudice: An order to
dismiss a case in which the court bars the plaintiff from suing again on the
same cause of action.
Dismissal without prejudice: An order to
dismiss a case in which the court preserves the plaintiff's right to sue again
on the same cause of action.
Duract: A brand of non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), Duract was recalled after rare cases of sever
hepatitis and liver failure were reported in people who took the drug longer
Dysarthria: A speech disorder that often
affects people with cerebral palsy, caused by a weakness in the muscles that
produce speech. In mild cases, there may only be a slight slurring of speech; in
more severe cases, the person may depend upon a voice output system to speak.
Dystonia: Involuntary slow, sustained
muscle contractions resulting in abnormal postures and twisting motions of arms,
legs, and trunk.