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What does ‘duty of care’ mean in medical negligence cases?

Medical negligence can result in serious consequences for anyone who receives poor treatment at a health care facility. Patients often see their quality of life decrease and in worst-case scenarios negligence may lead to deaths.

When bringing a medical negligence case before the courts, the claimant must prove that a health care practitioner failed in their duty of care in order to receive compensation.

A simple mistake is unlikely to constitute such a breach. However, here are some instances where your lawyer could convincingly argue that medical negligence occurred.  

Diagnostic failures: If your medical practitioner misdiagnoses you or fails to spot an injury or illness in time, this can be considered negligent. For example, diagnosing cancer too late may mean treatment is unable to stop the spread of the disease, with potentially fatal consequences.

Informed consent failures: This refers to when a health care professional does not adequately warn you of the potential dangers or side effects of treatment or surgery. An example of failure to obtain informed consent would be if the patient’s first language isn’t English and the hospital doesn’t bring in a translator to help communicate important information.

Medical product issues: Malfunctioning equipment could have serious ramifications for a patient, especially if it’s a life-saving device such as a pacemaker. If you have been given a wrong or faulty product, this could enable you to pursue a successful medical negligence claim.

Surgery or treatment negligence: While there are always risks when undergoing an operation or treatment, patients have a certain expectation of the level of care they should receive. In some cases, medical practitioners may perform the wrong surgery or mix-up medications, leaving themselves open to litigation.   

What are the next steps?

If you believe you can prove a breach of duty of care has occurred during the delivery of health care services, you should immediately contact an expert lawyer to proceed with your claim.

Medical negligence can be an extremely complex area of law, but a seasoned firm will have extensive contacts within the health care sector to ensure they have access to the information they need to build your case.

A successful claim can result in significant payouts, including compensation for economic losses such as wages and superannuation, as well as non-economic costs for pain and suffering.

You should also receive money to cover expenses relating to any past and present medical care required to help you cope with your injuries.

© 2021 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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