Things don’t always go as planned in the medical world. Patients have adverse reactions to medication. Complications arise during procedures. Diagnoses can sometimes be incorrect. Even with the most skilled doctor, issues can’t always be avoided. But are all these “mistakes” always the doctor’s fault? Some of these issues happen even when the protocol is followed exactly. Doctors can’t always control the way a person’s body will respond to a particular medication or procedure, which is why warnings and risks are (usually) clearly presented to the patient when undergoing treatment. So when is it medical malpractice? How do you know if you actually have a medical malpractice case?
1. Doctor-Patient Relationship
In order for a doctor to be responsible for what happens to someone medically, that person needs to actually be a patient of the doctor or have some kind of established relationship with him or her. If a person hears medical advice third-hand or comes about it in some other roundabout way, and an injury occurs, the doctor is not responsible as the doctor had never actually seen this person in order to appropriately treat them.
2. Deviation from Usual Standard of Care
A doctor must be proven negligent in order for a medical malpractice case to have merit. If a doctor followed all appropriate protocols and treated his patient with his usual standard of care, then that patient would have a hard time making a case that any complications that arise are due to the doctor’s negligence. You usually need an expert witness to testify and prove that the doctor was negligent in some way and that that negligence is what caused the injury. This expert witness will have to have had experience and training in the same field of medicine as the doctor being sued.
3. The Cause of the Complication
When a patient sees a doctor, it’s often because there is some condition that needs treatment. Therefore, it can be tricky to prove that whatever complication has arisen is caused specifically by the doctor’s negligence and not by the condition itself. A medical expert can work with your attorney to show how the complication was, indeed, caused by the doctor and would not have otherwise occurred without the doctor’s negligence.
4. The Presence and Nature of an Injury or Damages
Even if a doctor is negligent in care, you do not have a case to stand on if no injuries actually occurred. For example, if an incorrect dosage of medication was given but the patient experienced no side-effects, then there is no case. Malpractice injuries can include pain and physical injuries, mental distress, and monetary damages from increased medical bills and lost wages.
If you feel you may have a medical malpractice case, you need an expert lawyer with extensive experience who knows how to navigate all the various issues involved in this area of law. The attorneys at Goldberg and Chase Law have years of experience in the medical malpractice field and will fight for you to obtain your proper compensation.