You seek the guidance and help of a physician and their staff because you are vulnerable; perhaps you have a fever, maybe it is a broken arm or a simple case of the common cold. No matter how seemingly unsubstantial your ailment may seem, you seek the trusted opinion of a medical professional because you value your health and the health of those around you. We trust these men and women to always work professionally and adequately serve their patients’ needs. This trust is backed by a medical license and years of schooling and practical application.
Unfortunately, even with these assurances, sometimes medical negligence becomes apparent and should not be ignored. You and your family’s health and safety could hang in the balance.
Medical Negligence and Malpractice Key Facts
- Medical negligence is not the same as medical malpractice. Though many use the terms interchangeably, medical negligence is actually the, “legal concept upon which the case hinges,” in medical malpractice cases, according to All Law. In simple terms, negligence proves malpractice.
- Medical negligence is most easily identified if you think of it in terms of other negligence cases. In any other negligence cases, the definition of negligence is that the at-fault party did not hold up their ethical or legal agreement. For a construction company, that agreement is to follow the rules and regulations of a construction zone, keeping the general public safe from falling debris or haphazard roadway diversions. For a doctor, that would be treating patients competently and safely.
- A doctor’s legal obligation to his or her patients’ is call their “duty of care.” If you chose to be treated by a particular doctor, were examined by said doctor for treatment purposes, and received this treatment on an ongoing basis, you are guaranteed a certain level of service as a patient. This includes timely warning and advisement on medical findings.
- Medical malpractice occurs when medical negligence results in injury. Before you can make a case against a negligent doctor, there must be proof that the doctor failed to live up to his or her duty of care and caused damages due to this failure.
The thought of seeking treatment only to be injured further is a nightmare scenario but do not let it dissuade you from seeking the help of a medical professional. These instances are rare and ignoring injury or illness can be a costly mistake for your health and wallet. However, if you do find yourself in the treatment of a doctor that you feel is displaying signs of medical negligence, never hesitate to “fire” them and find another physician. Healthcare is something you deserve to feel confident about.