More and more people in South Africa are taking their doctors and other healthcare professionals to court for medical malpractice – so much so that the increase in litigation is contributing to our high medical inflation. But you can’t take such action lightly: the legal process is fraught with pitfalls and can be very drawn out, and the costs can be high. You need to be sure of your case, and of all the hoops you’ll have to jump through, before pursuing a claim.
I’d advise instead to try mediation, a grossly underused method that is effective, less stressful and a hell of a lot cheaper than going to court. Mediation is a relatively new concept in the NHS and takes the form of an independent, voluntary and confidential meeting in which a trained neutral sits with patients and NHS staff to allow both sides to outline their position, and see if common ground can be established and if issues can be narrowed and an agreement reached.
I know it's difficult to live with the "what ifs" of having cancer but in this case, if you do not yet know if you have the disease, you have to wait to see if you actually do have it. Then, you can contact a personal injury attorney in your area and they will help analyze your situation. You can contact as many personal injury attorneys as you want until you find one that will take your case.
Differential diagnosis is a systemic method used by doctors to identify a disease or condition in a patient. Based upon a preliminary evaluation of the patient, the doctor makes a list of diagnoses in order of probability. The physician then tests the strength of each diagnosis by making further medical observations of the patient, asking detailed questions about symptoms and medical history, ordering tests, or referring the patient to specialists. Ideally, a number of potential diagnoses will be ruled out as the investigation progresses, and only one diagnosis will remain at the end. Of course, given the uncertain nature of medicine, this is not always the case.
In the private sector, many legal contracts of all kinds stipulate the use of mediation or arbitration in the first instance, so it is quite common. Typically, a retired judge or senior advocate presides over the matter. In mediation, he or she listens to both sides and assists the parties to reach a compromise. In arbitration, the presiding officer can impose a binding decision, and can decide whether compensation is due and if so, how much.
In conclusion, my answer to your question would be, you can approach the Consumer Forum, where you don’t have to pay any Court Fee on your claim, and you may win the case with substantial evidence on your side. For the degree of evidence that is required to win a claim of Medical Negligence see the explanation above. Whether you have winning stuff in your case or not, can be best diagnosed by a independent, equally qualified Doctor, and not a lawyer. Approach a doctor first, and then with his opinion, approach a lawyer or directly the Consumer Forum of your district.
My Dad was an elderly, and he was killed by the misuse of an off-label medication that was contraindicative for his medical conditions. The harm was totally preventable. After Dad’s death, we talked to 20+ attorneys. 99 percent of them said there was malpractice and the doctor was negligent. But because of my Dad’s age and the lack of future earning, no attorney was willing to take my Dad’s case on contingency.
Yes, you could, but probably not nearly as effectively as a lawyer could.  In fact, the cases can be so difficult that most personal injury lawyers do not handle medical malpractice claims. A medical negligence claim is very technical.  A medical malpractice lawyer has the familiarity with the requirements necessary to prove the departure from the standard of care, the resources, the money, and the experience to advocate for you in a trial. In most states for most medical negligence claims, each claim needs an expert witness, who is either a doctor or a nurse.  Some cases require multiple experts.  The cases are very expensive and the hospitals know it. Make sure you chose a lawyer that specializes in medical malpractice and has the resources to handle your case.
Unfortunately, patients who have been injured from a delayed or misdiagnosis have the added burden of proving that medical malpractice has occurred. Consultation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is crucial to a successful outcome. At Folkman Law Offices, we advocate for patients who have suffered due to a medical mistake and help them collect the compensation they are entitled to under the law.

The patient must also prove that the doctor's negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the patient's injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have -- had the correct diagnose been made in a timely manner -- and that this progression had a negative impact upon treatment. For example, because of a delayed cancer diagnosis the patient had to undergo a more severe treatment regimen (such as chemotherapy) or the patient died because the cancer had metastasized and no longer responded to treatment. Sometimes a patient can show harm even if the condition can still be treated. For example, with some cancers a delay in treatment increases the risk of recurrence.

Doctors who fail to refer patients to a specialist can also cause a delayed diagnosis. A patient that complains of back pain and is sent home with muscle relaxers and pain medication can be at risk for permanent paralysis that an experienced neurologist could have prevented. For example, patients that go to an emergency room for treatment of severe stomach pain that are not seen by a gastrointestinal specialist could be diagnosed with the flu instead of a serious liver issue.


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There are two general types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering has to do with a medical malpractice victim’s actual physical injuries, i.e., his/her bodily injuries. It also includes conditions like scarring, disfigurement, and permanency of the malpractice victim’s injuries.

One example might be a person who survives a car crash in Knoxville in which a loved one dies. If the plaintiff can prove negligence, then any mental or emotional suffering resulting from the accident might be a recoverable damage. Seeing a loved one killed in an accident would traumatize anybody, but not every case of emotional distress will be so clear.
X. The medical practitioners at times also have to be saved from such a class of complainants who use criminal process as a tool for pressurizing the medical professionals/hospitals particularly private hospitals or clinics for extracting uncalled for compensation. Such malicious proceedings deserve to be discarded against the medical practitioners. XI. The medical professionals are entitled to get protection so long as they perform their duties with reasonable skill and competence and in the interest of the patients. The interest and welfare of the patients have to be paramount for the medical professionals.
Pain and suffering is a term used to define the physical and mental suffering that a plaintiff endures as a result of an injury. It is a component of the plaintiff's damages. So, in a medical malpractice case, the defendant health care provider can be liable for the harmed patient's pain and suffering, in additional to other damages like the cost of medical treatment and lost income.

The injury may also result in limiting your normal activities, especially if you are disabled. You may not be able to take care of your household responsibilities, such as cooking and cleaning or pursue hobbies like gardening or bicycling, caring for your children, or having intimate relations with your spouse. Take time daily and list the way your injuries have affected both your lifestyle and emotional well-being, along with the hardships you have encountered.


A case can be opened only if the alleged malpractice happened less than three years previously. There are a few exceptions to this general rule. If the injured party was under 18 at the time of the incident and his or her parents failed to seek compensation on behalf of the child, on turning 18, the child has one year to seek compensation on his or her own account. An injured party suffering from a mental illness has three years to make a claim on recovery from this illness. Exceptions might also be made if the injured party was compelled to be outside South Africa during the three-year intervening period.
When most people think about medical malpractice lawsuits, they imagine that the plaintiff is suing to recoup medical bill costs, lost wages, and economic damages but do not think about emotional distress. While the law has historically limited the ability of plaintiffs to receive compensation for emotional distress, settlements for this type of case have become more commonplace in recent years. It is most common for physical damage to also occur in these cases but this is not always necessary.

It is usually the case that a visit to our doctor will be enough to receive the medical advice required to send us away on the road to recovery without any further intervention being required. However, on occasion, GPs act negligently which results in complications being suffered by the patient. This may lead to further treatment or surgery which would have been unnecessary but for the GP’s negligence.
(3) A professional may be held liable for negligence on one of the two findings: either he was not possessed of the requisite skill which he professed to have possessed, or, he did not exercise, with reasonable competence in the given case, the skill which he did possess. The standard to be applied for judging, whether the person charged has been negligent or not, would be that of an ordinary competent person exercising ordinary skill in that profession. It is not possible for every professional to possess the highest level of expertise or skills in that branch which he practices. A highly skilled professional may be possessed of better qualities, but that cannot be made the basis or the yardstick for judging the performance of the professional proceeded against on indictment of negligence.

3. Finally, hospitals with specialized capabilities or facilities (e.g., burn units, specialized cardiac care units) must accept transfer patients from other hospitals if the specialized hospital has the capacity to treat them. This provision of EMTALA stops reverse dumping, where specialized hospitals won’t take indigent patients from other hospitals.


Many medical malpractice cases involve significant harm to the patient, the need for a long-term course of (very expensive) health care, and even the prospect of lifelong disability. Add that to the fact that you’re going to need to hire a qualified medical expert witness (an expensive but necessary step), and it’s easy to see how losing the case could be devastating.


The incident that caused the stress must have been due to extreme or outrageous negligence and that the actions caused you emotional harm. For example, if you are involved in an accident with a drunk driver in which a family member was killed, you may be able to file a claim for emotional distress due to the negligence of the driver in getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.

The second element is the most difficult to prove. A skilful and competent doctor can make medical errors as such it is important to look at the actions of the doctor in arriving at a medical conclusion regarding a patient’s health. If it can be proven the doctor acted with reasonable skill, competence and did his due diligence in arriving at a conclusion then he/she will not be liable for any loss or suffering as a result of the misdiagnosis. But where it is shown that the doctor fell below the standards of a reasonable competent practitioner as he failed to take the necessary step arrive at a proper diagnosis and his acts resulted in the damage then a party will be successful.
To best gauge the pain and suffering you have experienced from your accident claim, keep a daily pain log and list the problems described above; this will help accurately describe your discomfort and maximize your injury settlement. For example, if you received injections, physical therapy, or had surgery, consider the enjoyment in your life before the accident, and then measure the toll on your life from stress and problems related to your injury and treatment.
Examples of medical malpractice involving doctors include making surgical mistakes, leaving medical instruments inside the body during a procedure, cutting tissue in error, interpreting test and lab results incorrectly, resulting in the wrong diagnosis, or treating a condition inappropriately. Examples of malpractice involving nurses include failing to communicate new symptoms to doctors, administering the wrong type or dose of medication and failing to use equipment correctly.
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Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases are heart attacks and blood clots, infections or tumors. Misdiagnosis can delay treatment and can even be fatal. Mistakes are shockingly common when medication is administered, and surgical mistakes happen way too often. Sometimes doctors operate on the wrong body part, or on the wrong person entirely! The same formula above can be useful in trying to calculate the value of your medical malpractice case.
You will first have to find out whether you have bladder cancer to see if you even have a case. If you do have cancer (and I hope that you do not) then you would need a medical expert to be willing to say that your doctor that was treating your for the UTI's failed to diagnose you as having cancer as soon as they should have diagnosed you. This is the hard part of proving this case.
Do you have skeletons in your closet? Were you less than truthful about your health and/or physical condition? Are you prepared to subject yourself to hours of questioning from attorneys, both yours and likely several others? Are you prepared to make financial disclosures that will become public? When you file a lawsuit, particularly a medical malpractice lawsuit, your life becomes a very open book -- nearly everything is fair game.
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