According to the American Journal of Medicine 15 per cent of all medical case in developed countries are misdiagnosed. The National Center for Policy Analysis further states fatal diagnostic errors in U.S. intensive care units equal the number of breast cancer deaths each year — 40,500. Misdiagnosis has become a cause for concern in the medical and legal field because it has fatal consequences.
Hospitals’ duties—hospitals have a duty to exercise a proper standard of care. A hospital’s duty is to take reasonable care in running the hospital to avoid harming patients. This includes appointing enough competent staff, ensuring that the staff act within their competence level, ensuring timely treatment, and taking the right steps to protect patients from infections from other patients. Hospitals normally have someone to handle complaints about healthcare they provide.
We have had multiple lawyers look at the case. All of them have told us that while they believe mistakes were made, it would cost too much to prosecute the case to be worth it. Since he was 25, single and childless, there are no financial losses; no one who was depending on his paycheck. All we really want is answers and assurances that something has been done within the hospital to prevent similar mistakes from occurring again.
In the civil law arena, one of the most complex and challenging types of claims is a case involving malpractice. Attorneys that represent clients in malpractice cases tend to be specialists with a significant amount of experience. With that said, perhaps you made the decision to pursue a malpractice claim with no lawyer. If that is the case, you must understand the basics of how to process a malpractice claim without legal assistance.
Incidentally, under South African common law, there is the crime of "Crimen injuria", 'defined to be the act of "unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another." Although difficult to precisely define, the crime is used in the prosecution of certain instances of road rage, stalking, racially offensive language, emotional or psychological abuse and sexual offences against children.[5' (from Wikipedia).
Medical malpractice cases can be timely and costly, which is why most such cases are settled out of court. In addition, because medical malpractice insurance companies reject a significantly large portion of medical malpractice claims, it may be in your best interest to settle out-of-court or risk having no case at all. Keep in mind, however, that if you believe you have a strong case, then you should seek a larger settlement.
Loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on the injured party’s ability to provide love, affection, companionship, or services. People often think that loss of consortium refers to the impact the injury has had on a married couple’s sexual relationship. But it’s broader than that. Many states now allow children and parents, in addition to spouses, to bring loss of consortium claims. Note that the person who would sue for loss of consortium is the spouse, parent or child of the person who was injured.
Our son's case was a good example. There were many instances of error, but because he was single we couldn't bring case because there was no “pain or suffering” allowed for parents of adult children over the age of 25. I did call many attorneys and mostly was asked how old he was and if he was married. Then I got a rejection letter. The solution is very simple. Be honest when errors take place, and compensate victims fairly, then peace will come a lot sooner for everyone, including doctors.
You can also recover damages for physical pain and suffering, mental and emotional suffering, inconvenience, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life and "loss of consortium" (the loss of company/love/relations with your spouse). Many states have set limits on the amount of damages available to injured patients in medical malpractice cases. So, pain and suffering for the same injury may be in the millions in Illinois, but will be $250,000 or less in a state that limits pain and suffering damages to $250,000.
Examples of doctor negligence involve patients' complaints not being taken seriously enough, illnesses being incorrectly diagnosed, GPs refusing to carry out blood tests, incorrect or inappropriate medication being administered, incorrect doses of medication being prescribed, referrals to specialist consultants not being made in time or at all and follow up appointments/treatments not been carried out quickly enough . They can also include serious illnesses (such as cancer) being misdiagnosed as something less serious, broken or fractured bones going undiagnosed due to lack of referral for x-ray, failing to follow-up on a patient’s complaints and concerns, failing to correctly identify an illness or injury and treating an injury or illness in a manner which leads to complications and/or further injury or illness.
You can file a complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. There is no time limit for complaining to the College. And you can do this at the same time as you sue for malpractice and contact the police if you think you were assaulted. But the College cannot order a doctor to pay you money—only a court can do that. Script 423, called “Making a Complaint against Your Doctor” explains how to file a complaint. Contact the College through its website or call it at 604.733.7758 in Vancouver and 1.800.461.3008 elsewhere in BC.
If a doctor fails to provide proper medical care, a person can sue them for medical malpractice. At the same time, the person can also complain to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the body that licenses all BC doctors, enforces standards for them, and handles complaints against them. But the College cannot order a doctor to pay you money—only a court can do that. Script 423, called “Making a Complaint Against Your Doctor” explains how to file a complaint.
Bringing a medical malpractice claim is not a thing to be taken lightly. Malpractice lawsuits are expensive, time consuming, and can open you up to public inspection. And, unlike most other types of personal injury claims, case trends show a tendency toward favoring doctors and other care providers, not injured plaintiffs. Settlement, too, is far more difficult in a malpractice case due to a doctor’s ability to refuse to settle, regardless of whether his or her insurance company wants to pay. Simply put, even the most winnable malpractice case is still an uphill battle with little or no guarantee of success. Should you sue your doctor for malpractice? Perhaps, but consider what follows before you do.