What is Medical Malpractice and Can I Make a Claim?
Medical malpractice is when the standard of care provided by a medical practitioner falls short, causing someone to suffer a preventable injury or illness. If this has happened to you or your loved one, you could be in a position to make a medical malpractice claim.
What is medical malpractice?
Everyone makes mistakes, including doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners. Sometimes, these mistakes don’t have much of an impact, aside from denting your confidence in the medical profession. Other times, however, they can have a detrimental effect on your health. You might experience a prolonged period of pain, require extensive treatment or even face a poor long-term prognosis. If so, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
This is because all medical practitioners owe their patients a duty of care. This means they must provide a reasonable standard of care. By reasonable, we mean that another competent medical practitioner of the same specialism would have taken the same course of action. If a medical practitioner falls short of this standard, causing a patient unnecessary harm, then it will amount to medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice in action
Take a patient who visits their family doctor complaining of abdominal pain, blood in their stool and unexplained weight loss. These are all red flag symptoms of bowel cancer. A reasonably competent doctor should realise this and send the patient for further testing. If the family doctor fails to investigate the possibility of cancer, he has failed to provide a reasonable standard of care. This will result in a delayed diagnosis, meaning the patient could face a much poorer prognosis.
In this example, it is very likely that the patient would have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Another family doctor in the same position would have suspected bowel cancer and taken steps to confirm a diagnosis. The doctor has, therefore, failed to meet their duty of care. Due to this substandard level of care, the patient’s treatment is delayed, giving the cancer time to spread. The patient may then require invasive treatment, something which could have been avoided with a timely diagnosis.
Can I make a medical malpractice claim?
This is just one example of a situation which could lead to a medical malpractice claim. There are many more examples. Some medical errors are immediately apparent. For instance, if a surgeon amputates the wrong limb, you will be aware of the mistake straightaway. Some medical errors are more subtle. While you might have a feeling that something has gone wrong, it can be hard to know whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
To find out for certain, contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation. It is very unlikely that you will get any answers out of your doctor. Medical malpractice claims are strongly defended by the Canadian Medical Protection Association, and you probably won’t get an admission of wrongdoing. The easiest way to clarify your legal position is to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer from our team.
To speak to our Vancouver medical malpractice lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.Go back to Blog