Receiving medical treatment is a part of day-to-day life, often required to address or manage medical conditions.
Most of the time, medical treatment is provided without complication. However there can be occasions when a medical error occurs, resulting in injury and harm.
This may result in the medical care becoming ‘medical negligence’.
What is medical negligence?
A treatment provider such as a general practitioner, surgeon, specialist, nurse, psychologist, dentist, physiotherapist or chiropractor owes their patient a duty of care to perform treatment or surgery competently, and to a standard reasonably expected of that treatment provider.
Medical negligence, which is also known as medical malpractice, can occur when the treatment provider performs medical treatment or surgery to a standard that is less than reasonably expected of that provider, and results in injury or harm to the patient.
When does medical care become medical negligence?
Medical care may become medical negligence if injury or harm is caused by the treatment provider:
- Failing to take an adequate history or failing to appreciate the patient’s presenting complaints resulting in a misdiagnosis of an injury or illness.
- Failing to perform treatment or surgery at the necessary time.
- Providing incorrect treatment or surgery.
- Failing to perform treatment or surgery competently or without the required training or skill; or
- Failing to obtain a patient’s consent for treatment or surgery.
If medical negligence occurs, the injured person may be entitled to make a compensation claim against the professional indemnity insurance held by the treatment provider or hospital attended.
The claim might include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income and superannuation benefits, care and assistance required and any treatment, medication and rehabilitation needs as a result of the injury or harm sustained.
Making a medical negligence claim
Time limits apply for making a medical negligence or medical malpractice claim.
It is important that a person injured during the course of medical treatment or surgery contacts a lawyer as soon as possible after the injury is sustained for advice in relation to whether a medical negligence claim can be made, how much compensation can be claimed and how to recover the compensation.
If you think you, or a loved one, is the victim of medical negligence, contact DBH Lawyers’ Medical Negligence Claims team today for legal advice.