What is Medical Negligence in Personal Injury Law?
When it comes to medical negligence, it’s not always a surgical error or a visible, physical injury. In fact, this is not the number one cause for a medical malpractice claim. There are the rare instances where a surgical tool is left inside the patient’s body, or a surgeon performs a procedure they’re not familiar with. While these result in serious bodily injury to the patient, they are uncommon. However, it’s more likely if a patient chooses to pursue a medical malpractice claim, it’s due to misdiagnosis.
Within this Shaked Law Resource article, we’ll explain exactly why medical negligence causes such serious injury to a patient. We’ll also provide Personal Injury insight on the scope of medical malpractice. We’ll investigate how misdiagnosis is another “invisible” area of Personal Injury law. Often, when a patient suffers a diagnostic error, it can become too late to seek the proper treatment.
Accurate diagnosis is key
Diagnosing physicians are on the front lines of healthcare. They can be any doctor in any specialty. Many times a primary care physician will suspect illness and refer a patient to a specialist. We trust our physicians to be thorough, provide expert care, and guide us toward the correct diagnosis so that we can be restored to health. In the case of severely or chronically ill patients, they’re relied up on to sustain their lives to the best of their abilities. They’re what stands between, or for, a patient getting the medical care they need to live a full life. Misdiagnosis is not as rare as one would think, and in extreme cases, can be fatal. In this article we’ll seek to explain diagnostic errors and the detriment delay-of-care can cause a patient.
Why are diagnostic errors so serious?
There are no specific laws that regulate the handling of diagnostic errors. However, there are cases that can act as precedent. An experienced attorney will have access to one or more of these on hand to utilize for research purposes. Due to lack of clear law surrounding diagnostic errors, the courts require specific criteria be met. This is in order to compensate a victim properly for this kind of malpractice.
What is the criteria for medical negligence?
1. A doctor-patient relationship. The patient must be seen by the doctor and have established a rapport with the physician. If the patient doesn’t like what they’re told (news about their health they’re not expecting) by the physician, there is more than likely little to no grounds for a lawsuit. However, if the patient went to the doctor to find out what’s wrong with them, only to become sicker while in their care, there be grounds for litigation.
2. A negligent doctor. A doctor in a hurry is a doctor toeing the line of negligence. An exhausted doctor does not make the best candidate for understanding each patient’s needs. Negligence can occur when a doctor rushes through his or her time with the patient. This results in missing important details or ignoring the patient’s chief complaint. Over-prescribing of medication is another common problem that can result in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
3. The physician’s carelessness causes physical harm to the patient. Sometimes the physician ignores the patient or skips the details that could’ve lead them to correctly diagnosing the illness. In these cases, there may be grounds for a medical negligence lawsuit. In a case of misdiagnosis, carelessness is often a factor. Misinterpreting lab reports, failing to order correct imaging, or over prescribing medication can all be negligent actions. That’s because these things can lead to the patient being given an incorrect diagnosis. Receiving a diagnosis such as MS or Cancer, when that’s not what’s actually wrong is a negligent act on the part of the physician. Misdiagnosis leads to unnecessary (or lack of) treatment and surgical procedures.
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The Shaked Law Resource Blog focuses on fact-based, well-researched and informational articles that throw open the office doors and provide the kind of truth-telling the insurance companies hope injured victims never find out. All from the perspective of a Personal Injury lawyer whose seen and tried it all, with highly endorsed success!