Medical negligence is an act of omission by a medical professional that resulted in a personal injury or causes an existing condition to get worse.
All medical professionals could be responsible for medical malpractice and may take the form of errors during the diagnosis, surgical mistakes, treatment or management of health conditions.
There are a number of ways in which medical negligence can take place, including:
- Not warning you of the risks involved in your treatment
- Inappropriate intervention to address complications of labour and birth
- Failing to get your consent to perform an operation
- Delaying your referral to a specialist
- Failing to diagnose your medical condition
- Diagnosing your condition late (despite symptoms at an earlier stage)
- Prescribing you the wrong medication
- Not performing your surgery with sufficient care or approval
- Hospital or emergency room negligence
- Plastic surgery malpractice
- Dental malpractice
- Paediatric malpractice
- Anaesthesia malpractice
- Faulty blood transfusions
- Amputation of the wrong limb or removal of the incorrect organ.
If you’re a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to consult an attorney who is specialising in this complex field of law.
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Tips for dealing with the situation
Quantification of damages
The first steps your legal team will take is to request for all your medical records, review the evidence and send a letter of demand to the practitioner. The response to this letter will determine whether the matter goes to trial, the practitioner may decide to settle the matter out of court and meet the demands or defend the case in court. If the matter does go to court, you may be required to testify in person.
If your claim is successful, the Judge may grant you monetary compensation in an amount equal to what he/she deems adequate; this may include the legal costs, loss of income and any other cost you incurred. Take into account that a legal battle can be a costly exercise and judgement may not be passed in your favour.
It is often difficult to spot negligence because the complexity of modern medicine, but any negative consequence or complication incurred after the treatment could be a result of negligence. If you are suffering from an unusual or unexplained complication arising from medical treatment, it is advisable to consult another practitioner for a second opinion. In order to ascertain whether the complications arising are due to negligence, you will need consult with experts in medical and legal services.
Do not wait too long before consulting with a medical malpractice lawyer as over time the case can be weakened by multitudes of variables including forgetful witness’s and missing documents.