If a doctor fails to give prompt medical treatment, including timely referral to a specialist, they might be sued for medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Claim Elements:
1) Noncompliance with the Standard of Care
When a medical professional fails to utilize the skills and knowledge generally acquired by members of the medical profession in good standing in similar communities, they commit negligence.
Suppose expert testimony demonstrates that other doctors in the same community would not have delayed treatment or would have immediately referred the patient to a specialist in similar circumstances. In that case, this testimony can establish that the doctor’s conduct fell below the standard of care for a medical professional.
2) Patient was Injured as a Result of Negligence
A successful malpractice claim must also show that the doctor’s negligence caused genuine harm to the patient. This can be difficult because the patient was likely injured or ill before seeking medical attention, but harm can be proven by demonstrating that the doctor’s negligence caused extra injury or loss of chance to the plaintiff.
Delays in medical treatment can cause serious and fatal harm, especially if the disease, such as cancer, spreads and becomes incurable or inoperable. However, it can be difficult for patients to determine whether a delay in treatment lawsuit is possible.
To begin, for a treatment delay to be actionable, it must be the product of a healthcare provider’s negligence—typically, a delayed diagnosis or a diagnostic error. To be clear, you will not be able to pursue a medical malpractice case if your delayed treatment occurred because you failed to see a doctor after suffering systems or waited to schedule an appointment with a specialist after your primary care physician recommended it.
However, if your healthcare practitioner failed to appropriately identify your ailment, causing a delay in treatment, your claim may be actionable.
All of the following are examples of medical treatment delays that may be actionable:
- You went to your doctor for a routine checkup, and your doctor failed to identify or diagnose a condition that needed treatment;
- You went to your primary care physician with symptoms, and your primary care provider failed to accurately diagnose the condition based on the symptoms or failed to refer you to a specialist;
- You went to a specialist who misdiagnosed your condition, resulting in a delay in medical treatment; or
- Laboratory test errors occurred, resulting in a delay in medical treatment.
You must have suffered genuine suffering as a result of the treatment delay. To be clear, you will not be able to file a claim if a healthcare professional makes a mistake but you are able to seek treatment and do not suffer any injury as a result of the delay. However, there are other sorts of harm that can occur as a result of a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, or a delay in treatment.
Any of them may be actionable, including, but not limited to:
- Disease spread as a consequence of the delay;
- You needed more invasive or expensive treatment as a result of the delay; or
- You endured greater bodily or psychological anguish as a result of the delay.
Finally, in order to have an actionable case, you must not only meet the elements of medical negligence and actual harm as a result of that carelessness described above, but you must also bring your lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
Doctors are liable and can be sued for delay in treatment medical malpractice for failing to provide care in a timely manner.
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Case
Medical malpractice suits are notoriously difficult to pursue. Most cases are costly and time-consuming because they involve several expert medical witnesses and complex facts.
Doctors are usually unwilling to accept mistakes and frequently have the financial wherewithal to fight litigation.
Furthermore, many states limit medical malpractice awards. Patients who want to pursue a malpractice action should think about hiring a lawyer to aid with the early fees and provide experience to win the case.
What are Medical Errors?
Medical errors occur when a doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner makes an error related to or injures one of their patients. Many distinct sorts of medical malpractice cases are based on medical errors.
Any treatment, lack of treatment, or other deviation from accepted standards of medical care, health care, or safety on the part of a healthcare provider is considered medical malpractice. The patient suffers suffering, injury, or even death due to this departure.
Medical malpractice liability relates to who is legally liable for the patient’s harm. This is usually the party who violated their duty of care and caused the patient’s injuries. However, determining who is liable can be challenging, especially when numerous parties are involved.
Legal claims for medical negligence can be filed against any medical provider who contributed to the patient’s injury. Some of the most common entities that can be held accountable for medical malpractice are:
- The doctor is liable if their actions did not adhere to generally accepted standards of practice for their specific medical field;
- The hospital can be held liable for issues such as improper care or inadequate training of the hospital’s healthcare professionals; and
- Nurses or other medical staff who attended to the patient may be held liable if they contributed to the patient’s injury in some way, usually through negligence.
To summarize, medical errors can involve a variety of parties and situations. Prescription and hospital errors are two of the most common medical errors.
A prescription error is medical negligence in which a clinician incorrectly prescribes medication to a patient. The following are some of the most typical examples of prescription errors made by doctors:
- Prescribing the incorrect medication in general;
- Prescribing the incorrect dosage of the correct medication;
- Prescribing a prescription to which the patient is allergic; and/or
- Prescribing medications that are incompatible with one another.
Hospital errors are any mistakes made by hospital employees. The hospital may be held accountable for these errors under the corporate negligence concept. This personnel may include, but is not limited to:
- Administrative Personnel
It is critical to recognize that not all hospital errors constitute medical malpractice. It must be demonstrated that the hospital staff was negligent in some way for medical malpractice to occur.
This indicates that the employee owed the plaintiff a duty of care, and they breached that duty of care, causing damage and economic loss to the plaintiff.
Furthermore, in order to constitute medical malpractice, such an error must generally be tied to medical treatment or the performance of a medical operation.
This is why not all hospital errors are automatically classified as medical malpractice. For example, if a hospital custodian used inappropriate cleaning materials, it would most likely not be considered medical malpractice because it is not necessarily related to the practice of medicine.
However, the occurrence may still qualify as a hospital error because the custodian’s error may have caused harm to someone in the hospital.
Failure to notify the patient of all hazards connected with a specific treatment, surgery, operation, or medication is a common example of hospital error. Another common example would be failing to obtain the patient’s consent to perform a surgery, even after they have been informed of the risks involved.
These two acts, taken together, would almost certainly form the basis of informed consent cases.
What is a Medical Malpractice Settlement?
A medical malpractice settlement can occasionally be struck in connection with a medical malpractice lawsuit in personal injury law. Instead of a judge choosing the amount to be compensated for the victim’s injuries, the plaintiff and defendant will agree on the amount as well as any other applicable remedies.
This can happen either before or after the lawsuit is filed. A malpractice settlement is frequently regarded as favorable because a medical malpractice lawsuit may be complex and time-consuming. Other types of misconduct, such as dental and legal malpractice, can also be resolved.
Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of a delay in medical treatment, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the value of your case and the types of recovery available to you.