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Medical Negligence: Doctor’s Duty of Care
A doctor has a “duty of care” that they must provide to their patients. This duty is summed up in one line of the Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm. Every doctor is required to provide care to their patient that is considered adequate care within the medical industry.
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or other medical care provider harms a patient through inadequate care. The patient that has been injured by the negligent actions of the medical care provider then has the right to seek compensation for their losses.
What Happens When You Hire An OKC Medical Negligence Attorney
When you consult an OKC medical negligence attorney about your injury, they will begin an investigation into the events that led up to the injury. Your attorney will consult with medical experts to determine what the standard of care was for your condition or illness and where the doctor failed to provide that care. Once this is established, the attorney will begin the lawsuit process.
Oklahoma law requires that a medical professional provide a statement to the court that medical negligence did occur before the court accepts the case.
During the investigation process, your attorney may discover that there is more than one responsible party for your injuries. If this is the issue, your attorney will name all responsible parties in the Complaint filed with the court.
How Can There Be More Than One Responsible Party To A Medical Negligence Case?
During the investigation, your attorney may discover that the hospital or clinic that employs your doctor may share in the responsibility for your injuries. This is under the legal precedent that the employer is responsible for the actions of the employee (Respondeat Superior).
There are several ways that the hospital or clinic could be held responsible for the actions of the doctor. Some of these ways include:
- Hiring an unqualified doctor for the position. Every doctor cannot perform every medical procedure. Doctors must have the necessary training to provide specialized services.
- Not providing the necessary support staff or equipment essential for the doctor to provide adequate treatment to the patients.
- The clinic or hospital has knowledge of the poor performance of the doctor yet continues to keep them within their employ.
- Policies enacted by the clinic or hospital caused the doctor to make decisions that have a negative impact on the care and treatment of the patient.
There are many other ways that the hospital or clinic could have led to the patient being injured. Your attorney will work closely with medical professionals to determine who is responsible for your medical negligence injury.
Four Points Of A Medical Negligence Case
Your attorney must establish four points for a case to be accepted as a medical negligence case by the court. These four points are as follows:
- Establishment of Duty of Care. Your lawyer must show that the doctor and the hospital had a duty of care to provide you with safe medical treatment. This is the most straightforward point to prove. If you go to a specific doctor to receive treatment, that doctor has a duty of care to you once they accept your case. If a hospital admits you in for treatment, they have assumed a duty of care for the treatments you receive while in their care.
- Breach of Duty of Care. The next point that must be established is that there was a breach of that duty of care. This means that your attorney must show that the actions of the doctor or medical care facility were not what is considered the Acceptable Standard of Care.
- The Breach Led to an Injury. Next, your attorney must show that the breach of care led to the injuries that you received. Your attorney must be able to show that the actions taken by the doctor or care facility were the direct cause of the injuries you received.
- The Injury Caused Financial Harm. Your attorney must show that the injury you received has caused you financial harm. This is not very hard to prove. If you have had to have additional medical care to fix the treatment you received or if you have had to miss work because of the injury, you will have sustained financial losses. Your lawyer will also include additional losses that apply directly to your case.
A Note On Medical Negligence
It is very important to remember that medical negligence is a type of injury caused by the actions of a medical care provider that are not considered the accepted standard of care. It is not medical malpractice if you receive treatment from a medical professional and do not achieve the desired effects from that treatment.
It is also very important to understand that medical negligence is not just limited to doctors. Any medical care provider that provides direct treatment to the patient can be held responsible for negligence if the patient is harmed while in their care. This duty of care can extend to nurses, assistants, lab technicians, and the care facility. Chiropractors, physical therapists, dentists, and pharmacists can also be held liable for harming a patient if their actions were negligent.
Every medical care procedure has its risks, and there is not any type of medical care that is 100 percent guaranteed. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of your treatment is not malpractice. The medical care provider must be negligent with their actions for the court to accept the medical malpractice case.
If you believe that you have been harmed while under the care of a doctor or other medical care provider, you are encouraged to speak with an attorney. Your lawyer can tell you if your case qualifies for medical negligence under Oklahoma laws.