Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical professional breaches the standard of care. In general, a standard of care is the accepted methods of treatment applied by other medical professionals in the area to patients with identical or similar conditions. A standard of care will vary depending on a number of factors, including geographic area, the age of the patient, and the medical condition.
Suing a hospital for misdiagnosis is dependent on whether the doctor is an employee of the hospital. A hospital is liable for all damage committed by their employees once the employee is performing his/her duties. The principle of employer’s liability states that any act or omission by the employee in the course of their employment which causes loss, damage or suffering can be attributed to the employer. Therefore, once the doctor was an employee of the hospital then all his/her acts or omissions are attributed to the hospital. However, if the doctor was an independent contractor of the hospital that is where the hospital does not have any control in how the doctor carries out his functions but the doctor’s only responsibility is that he ought to perform the duties under his contract at the standard required; then the hospital is not liable. Where the doctor sets his own fees and work hours then he is not an employee.
For example, imagine that you repeatedly told your doctor that you had joint pain and a rash, and the doctor just shrugged off your comments about the joint pain as the normal process of aging and gave you an ointment for the rash. He ignored your family history of psoriasis and overlooked the connection between the two symptoms that could have led to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis until after you suffered severe complications -- like damage to your heart valve.
Another reason that misdiagnosis happens is a faulty lab result or test. Errors in test results can happen because of flawed equipment or human error. In some cases, a technician who administers the test inappropriately, or a secondary doctor who misreads a scan, resulting in a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis, can be held liable. If the hospital staff makes a mistake, the hospital can be held directly liable.
Failure to warn a patient of known risks. Doctors have a duty to warn patients of known risks of a procedure or course of treatment -- this is known as the duty of informed consent. If a patient, once properly informed of possible risks, would have elected not to go through with the procedure, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice if the patient is injured by the procedure (in a way that the doctor should have warned could happen). (To learn more, read Nolo's article Medical Malpractice: Informed Consent.)
Besides negligence and lack of informed consent, there is a third type of malpractice. Recently, courts have said doctors may be responsible if they break the patient-doctor contract. This is a complicated area of malpractice law, not covered by this script. For example, one issue may be who has a contract with the doctor: you or the Medical Services Plan. You would need a lawyer to see if this applies to your case.
“Special damages (compensation for the injured party’s future medical expenses and loss of income) probably cannot be capped in South Africa, and this usually represents the largest part of any claim. Without adequate compensation for legitimate injuries, patients would be totally dependent on our public healthcare system for their future care. Receiving compensation from private sector healthcare providers and then relying on the state for any shortfalls is unfair,” he says.
However, bringing a lawsuit is not for everyone. Weigh your options. If your fear of “looking bad” to family or friends outweighs your desire to bring a malpractice suit against your doctor for an injury he caused you or a loved one, bringing a suit may not be the best option for you. On the other hand, if your need or want to bring suit against your doctor outweighs your fear, taking action against your physician may be the right choice for you.
I have been seen about 6 times for UTI ( bladder infection) Each time all my symptoms have been the same, but three days later (after they treat me for the bladder infection) the culture comes back negative. Finally today they said it could possibly be Bladder Cancer. I have had all the symptoms of bladder cancer and no body has ever taken the time to test me. So in all can i sue for them not looking more into this throughout the past two years when all these problems started happening? Since it could be cancer, and it could be too far along to treat.
Halifax lawyer John McKiggan, author of Health Scare, argues that the reasons for poor outcomes in medical procedures are often kept hidden. McKiggan cites the 2004 Canadian Adverse Events Study that found that 70,000 of the 185,000 adverse effects suffered annually by hospital patients are potentially preventable. Between 9,250 and 23,750 patients die annually from preventable errors, involving doctors and other health practitioners.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you may wish to file a formal claim with the offending doctor’s insurance company. Certainly, the doctor may be unwilling to provide you with insurance information, or you may require the assistance of an attorney to make a claim, but in some jurisdictions (particularly those without damage caps) you may find that an insurance company is willing to negotiate a settlement prior to a formal suit being filed. The expense and potential fallout of a formal, public lawsuit is a risk insurance companies are often unwilling to take.
In most cases where the other party was clearly at fault, the injured party will receive at least some compensation for their pain and suffering. Most insurance companies recognize that people who are injured in a car accident deserve something for their pain and inconvenience. Often, the amount insurance carriers try to get away with, at first, is very low. But with proper attorney representation, this number can be increased to reach an acceptable sum.
How is emotional distress defined in the eyes of the law? In most cases, you can only sue for emotional damages if the incident in question physically harmed you. Emotional distress suits are trickier than other types of lawsuits. It’s important to have a solid understanding of the types of emotional distress claims before you attempt to file a lawsuit.
It is very common for an injured person to consult a lawyer saying ‘if Dr Smith had told me I would end up like this I would never have agreed to the procedure’. While the saying ‘hindsight is always 20/20’ is often appropriate, there are situations where an injured person could and should sue their doctor or other professional for failing to warn them of significant risks of a procedure.
Such awards may follow in house insurance guidelines with some leeway granted to adjusters to adjust the claim in order to prevent the claim from being fully litigated in court. There is a wide range of levels of compensation which may fluctuate seasonally and with the economy and dictates of the insurance industry setting the varying levels of compensation to claimants. Some insurers have experimented with using computers which tabulate the data that is presented and grant the adjuster a level of money authority for which to settle the claim.
First, of all, I do not relish the fact that Dr. Sampley is being sued. He is a nice person; he was the treating psychiatrist when my daughter was admitted to the hospital cited in this article. My daughter was hospitalized on that occasion because she was unable to care for herself. She was unable to feed herself, go to the bathroom, communicate, etc. She was so catatonic and unresponsive to the environment, that her eyes were ‘glued’ in an open position. It was like being in a coma. You could move her arm in an outstretched position and her arm would stay that way indefinitely until it lost blood circulation. You could stick a needle through her leg and she wouldn’t respond. People in this MIA community who argue that ‘mental illness’ does not exist should reconsider how these kind of comments affect family members whose loved ones truly cannot care for themselves. The argument shouldn’t be whether ‘mental illness’ exists but how do individuals fall into conditions in which they are unable to take care of themselves and what is the role of iatrogenic harm and trauma in their mental and emotional condition. In my daughter’s state, both played a major role but I will keep this post as relevant as possible to Dr. Sampley and how his character/belief system is relevant to our movement.
While such an idea once sounded like pure science fiction, it would present enormous opportunities in business, leisure, and medicine. Imagine, someone with a rare disease or medical condition could quickly travel anywhere in the world to obtain the best treatment option. In fact, this is already occurring, as people travel to numerous places for both medical and dental treatment. But, as we all know, sometimes medical treatment goes wrong, and this raises an interesting question. Can you sue doctors in other countries for medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor (or other medical professional) who fails to competently perform his or her medical duties. The rules about medical malpractice -- from when you must bring your lawsuit to whether you must notify the doctor ahead of time -- vary from state to state. But there are some general principals and broad categories of rules that apply to most medical malpractice cases. Here's an overview of the law and some of these special rules.