1 in 7 Medicare patients experience serious harm because of medical errors and hospital infections each year, and 180,000 patients die, according to a November 2010 study by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
A patient who suffers injury or damage due to negligence of their doctor has a right to sue that medical professional for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice suits fall under a few different categories, such as bad diagnosis, sub-standard care, lack of informed consent and breach of doctor-patient confidentiality.
Standard of Care
Doctors owe their patients a standard of medical care, but there are many times when that standard of care is not upheld. A licensed physician should have a basic level of skill and expertise in diagnosing and treating general illnesses and injuries. Medical professionals who specialize in a specific field are held to a higher standard of care in that field than a general practitioner. While a general practitioner should be able to perform basic treatments, such as CPR to a heart attack patient they should not be expected to perform everything a cardio specialist may be able to do.
While patients entrust their health, livelihood and even their life into the hands of their doctors, there are generally no guarantees of medical results. Patients should however expect that they do not suffer serious harm or injury at the hands of their doctors. When a patient suffers injury or harm due to negligence of their doctor, a medical malpractice suit is in order. To succeed in a malpractice case, a plaintiff must be able to show that injury or damages resulted from the lack of standard of care received by their doctor.
Patients have a right to receive information about their medical condition, treatment choices, risks associated with treatment and prognosis. Understanding these things should help a patient make an informed decision about their health. When a doctor does not inform a patient of all advantages and risks associated with medical treatment, such as prescription drugs, for example, that patient is unable to make an informed decision and may have a case against his or her physician in a malpractice suit. To succeed, the plaintiff must show that had they known all risks or possible outcomes of treatment that were not disclosed, they would not have chosen that treatment or procedure.
Breach of Doctor-Patient Confidentiality
Patients have a right to expect that their doctors will not disclose their medical records, information about their medical condition or treatment to any unauthorized parties. This is based on the general principle that patients should not be hindered or inhibited by fear that their medical condition will be disclosed. Doctors are expected to uphold this confidentiality, and will use what they know about their patient only to benefit that patient. When that confidentiality is breached, and a patients medical condition is disclosed to unauthorized parties, a patient may have a case against his or her doctor.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of negligence by a doctor or other health care professional, please contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. Call us at 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020.