Rather, the law only requires medical professionals to act according to the proper standard of care. If you have evidence that your doctor violated this standard when failing to diagnose your condition, then you may have a legitimate malpractice claim. Oftentimes, an expert witness will be called in to determine whether a medical professional did indeed violate his or her standard of care.
“Special damages (compensation for the injured party’s future medical expenses and loss of income) probably cannot be capped in South Africa, and this usually represents the largest part of any claim. Without adequate compensation for legitimate injuries, patients would be totally dependent on our public healthcare system for their future care. Receiving compensation from private sector healthcare providers and then relying on the state for any shortfalls is unfair,” he says.
According to Joseph’s Incorporated, proof of negligence is decided on the basis of a balance of probabilities. If you want to pursue a case, the onus is on you to prove negligence, as well as damage due to the negligence (see “Burden of proof”, below). Medical experts have to provide relevant, credible, reliable information, as it is certain that opposing lawyers will look for any opportunity to discredit them.
While some diagnostic errors may be seen as reasonable, patient harm that stems from inadequate communication could be the result of negligence on the part of medical providers. Every case is different, and the strength of yours is in the details. To have those details reviewed by an experienced medical malpractice lawyer, contact The Tinker Law Firm, PLLC. Call us today or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation.
This was what is known as a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) case. The FTCA is a federal statute that allows private parties to sue the United States in Federal Court for torts committed by persons acting on behalf of the Government. For example, if a doctor or nurse employed by a Veterans Administration hospital or a hospital on a military base commits malpractice, the patient would need to bring a medical malpractice claim under the FTCA. Other examples of potential negligence claims against the Government include someone injured in an auto accident involving a Government owned vehicle, and someone injured due to a fall caused by negligent maintenance in a post office or other Government-owned facility.
The law protects you against any doctor providing you with substandard care. It is possible to sue a doctor who works in an NHS hospital, a private practice or a GP's surgery. Also the law understands that if a doctor has been negligent towards you, you may not always be able to make a claim for yourself. It is possible to sue a doctor for negligence on behalf of yourself, your child, an elderly relative, an individual who has passed away or another loved one who is unable to make the claim themselves.
Patients choose not to pursue valid medical-malpractice claims for numerous reasons: Some are concerned that other doctors will learn of their cases and refuse to treat them. Some fear—incorrectly—that it will lead to an increase in the cost of their medical care. And others forgo valid claims due to the perceived personal and financial costs associated with litigation.
The 1960's and 1970's also saw the emergence of the doctrine of informed consent. Modern medicine requires that medical professionals disclose all of the associated risks that accompany a given procedure. This way, if a treatment or procedure entails serious or deterrent risk, the patient may make an informed personal decision to refuse it, such is their right. During these two decades, it became a fundamental tenant of biomedical ethics that a patient is informed of all the risks in a procedure. Failure to warn patients of possible adverse outcomes could become an additional source of liability for physicians and medical professionals. Legislatures eventually got down to the task of explicitly defining what information must be disclosed, and what constitute a "lack" of informed consent. The definition tiptoed around the issues of emergency care, patient-provider relationships, “common” knowledge, consent on behalf of a minor, and whether a given risk would deter a “reasonable” person from accepting treatment. Lawmakers set about drafting ironclad informed consent law that covered the ifs, ands and buts of most conceivable situations that required informed medical consent. In the same era, courts discarded the doctrine of charitable immunity which had previously immunized charitable institutions from suit.
Our local surgery now has no permanent doctors, all have resigned. It used to be an 11 doctor practice. In addition most of the nursing staff have left. It is a two branch practice and one branch now closes two afternoons a week and recently they closed it another full day due to lack of staff. Even reception staff are leaving because of the way the practice is being mismanaged.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that “true consent to what happens to one’s self is the informed exercise of a choice, and that entails an opportunity to evaluate knowledgeably the options available and the risks attendant upon each … it is the prerogative of the patient, not the physician, to determine for himself the direction in which his interests seem to lie.”