Before donning their white coat, your doctor took an oath to "do no harm," which is reassuring since you're often putting your life in their hands. But, what if your doctor's care does more harm than good? While most medical care improves the lives and comfort of patients, there are thousands who die or are harmed every year from preventable medical events. Many of these events can be classified as medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice is more than a mistake or failure to diagnose. It is proven negligence that results in harm to the patient. So, how do you know if you have a medical malpractice case?
DOES A RELATIONSHIP EXIST?
A key component of medical malpractice is the doctor-patient relationship. Both parties (doctor and patient) must have agreed to the relationship in order to claim medical malpractice. If a doctor is seeing you as a patient and begins providing treatment, this establishes a relationship. The relationship is less clear and harder to establish when a consulting physician has been negligent.
WAS YOUR DOCTOR NEGLIGENT?
Medical malpractice is harm to a patient as a result of negligence. It's more than an error or a mistake. A doctor can be considered negligent if they failed to meet the quality of care a qualified doctor should be able to provide to their patients. When bringing a medical malpractice suit against a healthcare provider, a medical expert will consult on what the standard of care should be to help prove negligence.
Many medical procedures are inherently risky, and some medical errors occur as a result of that risk, despite being within the standard of care. So, the consultation of a medical expert is important when proving negligence.
DID THAT NEGLIGENCE RESULT IN HARM?
Medical malpractice suits require a patient have suffered harm. And that harm must have been directly caused by the healthcare provider's negligence.
Harm is most often defined as physical injury or pain. It can also include mental suffering, the cost of additional medical bills or the cost of lost wages.
Causation is a key element of medical malpractice. Negligence and harm independently do not constitute a claim, but if that harm was directly caused by the negligence, a medical malpractice suit may be filed. It must be demonstrable that the negligence resulted in the harm to the patient. There are two main classifications of negligence resulting in harm: failure to diagnose and improper treatment. In some cases, the failure to advise a patient of risk can also be classified as medical malpractice.
If you think you may have a case, call 314.932.1066 to schedule your free consultation with the Eason Law Firm.