Canadians tend to be more trusting of our healthcare providers. Therefore, when malpractice occurs, our first reaction tends to be disbelief. However, the National Institutes of Health cites that medical errors are more common than we think, affecting 25% of the population. So, if you are the victim of medical negligence, how can you receive compensation?
What Are Common Mistakes?
There are several areas where common mistakes occur. These are:
• Missed diagnosis
• Medication errors
• Surgical mistakes
• Late diagnosis
• Treatment delays
• Inadequate monitoring after a patient undergoes a procedure
• Anesthesia mistakes
• Complications in labour and delivery
• Birth trauma and birth injury
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when healthcare professionals administer substandard treatment, harming the patient as a result. Nurses, doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers are legally bound to provide proper care to patients or those requiring emergency medical assistance.
Not everyone has to be accepted as a patient, and medical professionals can refuse to take a person under legitimate circumstances.
An example would be if the doctor didn't have the proper expertise to deal with a situation or when a disagreement on the appropriate medical treatment with the patient ensues. By not providing care, professionals are safeguarding themselves from legal action.
However, patients cannot be refused based on the following grounds:
• Marital status
• National/ethnic origin
• Medical condition
• Mental or physical disability
• Political affiliation
• Socioeconomic status
How Can You Determine if the Professional Was Negligent?
The provider is negligent if a reasonable standard of care for a healthcare practitioner/provider working in the same area is not met. The practitioner is liable for damages if the breach of the standard of care results in injury or illness.
Bad Results or Errors
Practitioners aren't liable for every error made. Realistically, the law knows that doctors frequently must make quick decisions without all of the complete information. The question becomes, did the practitioner make a reasonable decision that other doctors would have made if faced with a similar situation?
Healthcare providers must meet a baseline standard of care. This will vary based on their specialty. Standards differ each year and can change with time. It is possible for a doctor to take the correct steps toward a proper diagnosis. However, the outcome may still result in a bad result or error.
Delay in Diagnosis
The critical phrase always comes down to reasonable expectations. With diagnosis delays, you can only be awarded if there is a delay in what would be considered a reasonable time frame.
In this case, the determining factor is whether the delay caused loss or injury to the patient.
Alternatively, sometimes delays would not have made a difference. If this is the case, the patient likely cannot recover anything from their physician.
Not Obtaining Informed Consent
Doctors must thoroughly inform their patients of all risks associated with medical treatments. This is what is known as informed consent. If the practitioner fails to obtain informed consent, and an injury occurs, the patient can sue their doctor.
• Inform you of your condition
• Explain the nature of treatments
• Inform you of treatment risks and additional options
While your practitioner does not need to explain every possible risk, they must outline the risks a reasonable patient needs to know before deciding on treatment. This involves explaining what can happen and the likelihood of it occurring.
However, if there is a known risk that you were not informed of before treatment, it may be deemed as malpractice.
If you bring claims forward, the courts will decide whether a reasonable individual would consent to the treatment if they had been fully informed of the risks.
Suppose you can prove negligence resulting in illness or injury. In that case, the court may order the practitioner, hospital, or provider to pay damages. Damages may include medical/other expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and losing the enjoyment of life. It should be noted that doctors are only responsible for the harm their negligence caused.
Doctors can still be held liable for the work if the work was delegated. If two doctors were involved, or the person was left in another doctor's care, both could be held responsible. Inexperienced interns who perform a physician's duties are still expected to provide the same care as a physician.
Things to Consider
Medical malpractice must be initiated within two years of occurrence. This time frame is the limitation period. It marks the time when a reasonable person discovers that an injury occurred as a result of a medical practitioner's care.
Even if you feel fine but suspect malpractice, it is advisable to act quickly. This allows witnesses to provide a clear account and ensure they are still available to testify. However, there are exceptions to this two-year rule.
Medical malpractice lawsuits take many years to resolve. Some lawyers will work on a contingency fee, which means the cost depends on the results of your case. If the lawyer loses, they obtain nothing. If a win occurs, your lawyer receives part of the compensation.
Patients can also file a complaint with regulatory bodies while suing a practitioner.
Suppose you have concerns about your treatment or the professional's conduct. In that case, you can register a complaint with your local College of Physicians and Surgeons. They are the governing body for provincial doctors.
While they cannot order the practitioner to pay compensation, they can take disciplinary action or initiate remedial steps.
Who Can I Turn to for Medical Malpractice Compensation?
While errors can occur, we recognize how they impact individuals and families. With over 40 years of experience, we are equipped to help clients successfully navigate the complexities of the legal-medical system.
We will assist you in understanding what options are available to you, help you generate informed decisions, and properly care for your family during the aftermath of a tragedy or injury resulting from medical malpractice.
Please book your free consultation today by contacting us at 1-844-940-2386 or visiting our website here.