The Dial-A-Law library is prepared by lawyers and gives practical information on many areas of law in British Columbia. Script 420 gives information only, not legal advice. If you have a legal problem or need legal advice, you should speak to a lawyer. For the name of a lawyer to consult, call Lawyer Referral Service at 604.687.3221 in the lower mainland or 1.800.663.1919 elsewhere in British Columbia.
It is not easy to get a full picture of the increase in medical malpractice cases in South Africa, as there is no central register. Cases can be settled in court, out of court or via mediation. If matters are settled out of court or via mediation, there is no public record of compensation. However, if all sources of information are collated, it would certainly appear that both the number and levels of claims are increasing, and this is affecting the overall cost of health care in the country, including what you pay for medical scheme cover.
As to what constitutes severe emotional distress, the courts here require that it rise above the level of temporary fright, regret or disappointment. Rather, the plaintiff must be able to show that they suffer from a severe and disabling emotional or mental disorder that mental health professionals generally recognize and diagnose, such as chronic depression, neurosis, psychosis or phobia.
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.
The doctor's negligence caused the injury. Because many malpractice cases involve patients that were already sick or injured, there is often a question of whether what the doctor did, negligent or not, actually caused the harm. For example, if a patient dies after treatment for lung cancer, and the doctor did do something negligent, it could be hard to prove that the doctor's negligence caused the death rather than the cancer. The patient must show that it is "more likely than not" that the doctor's incompetence directly caused the injury. Usually, the patient must have a medical expert testify that the doctor's negligence caused the injury.
"Once an allegation is made that the patient was admitted in a particular hospital and evidence is produced to satisfy that he died because of lack of proper care and negligence, then the burden lies on the hospital to justify that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctor or hospital. Therefore, in any case, the hospital is in a better position to disclose what care was taken or what medicine was administered to the patient. It is the duty of the hospital to satisfy that there was no lack of care or diligence. The hospitals are institutions, people expect better and efficient service, if the hospital fails to discharge their duties through their doctors, being employed on job basis or employed on contract basis, it is the hospital which has to justify and not impleading a particular doctor will not absolve the hospital of its responsibilities."
Taking an active role in your own care can help you avoid being a victim of negligence in a fast passed emergency room. Answer all questions honestly and be clear about any past medical care including any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter that you are taking. Once discharged ask for a copy of the medical record and test results and have the attending doctor detail your treatment plan.
Others may be responsible—if a doctor delegates work to someone else, the doctor may still be legally responsible for the work. If a doctor leaves a patient in the care of another doctor, both doctors may be responsible. If an inexperienced intern performs the duties of a doctor, the intern has to give the same medical care the doctor would give. But a doctor can rely on the employees of a medical facility and expect that they’ll meet the standard of care required in their jobs. So if a doctor leaves proper instructions with a nurse who doesn’t follow them, the nurse, not the doctor, may be responsible. Or both may be. If a person is harmed by the negligence of another healthcare professional, they can sue that professional. They can also file a complaint with the regulatory body for that profession. For example, the College of Registered Nurses of BC licenses nurses. The Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing Board licenses paramedics.
In the mid 1990s the concept of a ‘gratuitous care’ award was developed by the High Court.  Basically, if you can’t look after yourself or your house (or in some cases your children) because of your injuries, then you can claim the cost of a commercial carer or cleaner even though your family is doing the tasks you can’t do.  For a while this was a very lucrative area of damages but now there are laws that place both a threshold and a cap on what you can claim.  Put simply, you aren’t entitled to any gratuitous care award unless you need at least 6 hours of assistance per week for at least 6 continuous months and the hourly rate of any award is capped at the Average Weekly Earnings hourly rate.  You should be careful, however, not to confuse gratuitous care with commercial care, which is a different claim for damages entirely and which is not the subject of thresholds or caps.
This is medical negligence. The 1) the standard of care requires a surgeon, the surgical team, and the hospital, to not leave surgical instruments inside of a patient 2) the doctor fell below the standard of care, 3) and it made the man sick for a year 4) which caused him pain and suffering, to miss work, and to incur unnecessary medical expenses both in dealing with the mystery illness after the first surgery and again for the second surgery to remove the gauze.
Patrick Malone, a Washington, D.C., attorney who has represented patients in medical malpractice lawsuits since 1985, said he triages cases to focus on those that resulted in permanent harm. That's necessary, he said, because of the time and emotional investment the patient will need to make to bring the case to trial, and because of his investment in the case.
There are no guidelines for determining the value of a malpractice victim’s pain and suffering. A jury cannot look at a chart to figure out how much to award for pain and suffering. In most states, judges simply instruct juries to use their good sense, background, and experience in determining what would be a fair and reasonable figure to compensate for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Because juries are given so little guidance about how to calculate damages for pain and suffering, awards of pain and suffering damages can vary widely among plaintiffs with similar injuries.
The most common kind of damage awards in medical malpractice lawsuits are compensatory. This is money paid for actual injury or loss. This includes medical and hospital bills, rehabilitation expenses, physical therapy, ambulance expenses, prescription drugs, nursing home care, domestic services,medical equipment, lost employment income, increased living expenses, and loss of future income. The latter is much more difficult to assess. If the doctor injured Bill Gates, the doctor will pay much more in compensation for lost earnings than if the injury was to someone who is poor or retired.
If your case is accepted, an investigation will be conducted to evaluate medical records, medical protocol, and other pertinent information to determine the factors that may have caused an injury or death. During your initial consultation, you will be informed about how you can assist in the process such as submitting requested documents in a timely manner and attending legal sessions when required.
The patient must prove that they suffered pain, lost wages, have costly medical bills, or have experienced a significant loss in the quality of their life or in their ability to live independently because of the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Compensation for pain and suffering may be available to the patient in addition to compensation for their physical injuries.
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.
"Once an allegation is made that the patient was admitted in a particular hospital and evidence is produced to satisfy that he died because of lack of proper care and negligence, then the burden lies on the hospital to justify that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctor or hospital. Therefore, in any case, the hospital is in a better position to disclose what care was taken or what medicine was administered to the patient. It is the duty of the hospital to satisfy that there was no lack of care or diligence. The hospitals are institutions, people expect better and efficient service, if the hospital fails to discharge their duties through their doctors, being employed on job basis or employed on contract basis, it is the hospital which has to justify and not impleading a particular doctor will not absolve the hospital of its responsibilities."
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.

Traffic tickets can affect your claim, and if the insurance company determined that you were partially at fault for the car accident, then the amount of settlement could be worth less. If you were not at fault and depending on your attorney’s negotiating skills, you might possibly get the full settlement. If the driver who caused the accident was driving under the influence, then he or she would need a criminal defense attorney, as they might be fully held liable for causing the car accident.


In another case, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York allowed a couple to sue a fertility clinic for emotional distress after the clinic implanted the female plaintiff's embryo in another woman. Although neither plaintiff was physically injured by the implantation, both suffered emotional injury due to the defendants' breach of their duty of care, the court said.
There are many reasons that a doctor can be held liable for negligence. Diagnostic tests such as blood work, MRI, ultrasound, CT scan, or x-rays are crucial when there is a possibility of internal injury, head injury, broken bones, organ failure, or illness. Failing to order these tests can result in a doctor diagnosing a sprain instead of a bone fracture, or missing pneumonia in a patient that they diagnose with asthma. Without the benefit of a CT scan, a patient diagnosed with a concussion could actually have a serious head or neck injury that can have permanent repercussions.
On the other hand, you may have a great case if the treatment made your condition worse. For example, imagine that your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure when you're really just showing a temporarily high reading due to stress and pain. The blood pressure medication causes your blood pressure to fall too low and you end up in the intensive care unit for a week at the hospital.
“I was very fortunate to have Richard Jaffe of Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, represent me in my case. Throughout the entire process, Rich was professional, always explaining every detail of my case. He was available whether it was through a phone call, text or email. Not only was Rich an extreme professional but he also kept it personal, not making me feel like a case number. I would highly recommend Richard Jaffe, his firm and all of his staff to anyone seeking diligent and professional results.”
All doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers have a legal duty to provide proper medical care to patients—and to any other people who need emergency medical care. But doctors do not have to accept everyone as a patient. They can refuse to take a person as a patient for legitimate reasons. For example, a doctor may lack medical knowledge and experience in a particular area. Or a doctor and person may disagree on the right medical treatment for the person. But doctors cannot refuse to take a person as a patient because of age, gender, marital status, medical condition, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.
The first step is a letter of demand, a letter sent by your lawyer to the doctor or health facility concerned, setting out your claim and the period in which the accused should meet it. Thereafter, getting a case to court can take up to four years. Accurate case data and hospital notes have to be gathered; records relating to the patient’s prior medical history, treatment at the hands of the suspected transgressor, and any subsequent treatment must be obtained. Then, lay witnesses must be found, expert witnesses briefed and court dates agreed on. In addition, both the patient’s medical condition and prevailing medical treatments have to be researched.
One of the rights that most patients are familiar with regarding medical care is privacy rights. While this protection of privacy is important, you also have the right to receive excellent medical care. If you think that you or your loved one’s patient rights have been violated by means of medical malpractice, a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Minneapolis MN trusts, may be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf.

Answers in this general Q&A forum are for discussion purposes only, are not being provided in the context of an attorney-client relationship and are not to be construed as providing legal advice. Massey Law Firm PLLC and its attorneys may be retained only on the basis of a written contract, signed by the attorney and the potential client, together with the payment of fees and costs as may be required by the contract.
Holding Negligent Healthcare Providers Accountable Our team of experienced, litigating attorneys have spent thousands of hours in actual courtrooms fighting for victims of medical malpractice in Florida. Our firm has the resources necessary to hire the appropriate expert witnesses, investigators, … Continue reading Florida Medical Malpractice Attorneys
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