In Ireland, in order to make medical negligence claims, patients have to prove that a healthcare provider indeed committed medical negligence.
A medical professional is considered to have committed medical negligence when their actions in the process of treating a patient lead to injury on the patient’s side.
Medical negligence can be in terms of the following acts:
- Medication errors– In this case, a healthcare professional may accidentally prescribe the wrong medication or fail to prescribe medicine that could help a patient. As a result, the patient endures further suffering.
- Surgical errors– Medical professionals can make a surgical mistake during a procedure. This would fall under medical negligence.
- False diagnosis– Sometimes, a healthcare provider can give a patient the wrong diagnosis. As a result, the patient suffers due to the medical professional’s negligence.
- Errors at the time of birth– During the birth process, a medical professional may make a mistake that causes harm to a child. When the child gets to eighteen years, they can file a medical malpractice claim against the professional for the damages they suffered.
How Do You Prove Medical Negligence from a Medical Professional?
As we have mentioned, you need to be able to prove medical negligence for your medical malpractice case to be worth pursuing. To do this, you first need to get an experienced medical negligence attorney. The attorney will review your case and guide you on the way forward.
Experienced attorneys will explain to you the importance of having expert witnesses. An expert witness is a competent physician who will prove to the court that your healthcare provider acted against the expected standard while providing your treatment.
You will also need extensive medical records, receipts, pictures, and any other evidence that will help you establish your case.
What are the Four D’s Of Medical Negligence?
To make your medical malpractice claim solid, there are four crucial things you will be required to prove. These are popularly referred to as the four D’s of medical negligence. They are duty, dereliction, direct causation, and damages.
Here is a more detailed breakdown of the four Ds:
1. Duty– When proving medical negligence, there has to be proof that the doctors owed you a duty of care. In other words, you need to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the two parties. This is why medical records are essential. The court will see that the medical practitioner owed a duty of care to that particular patient through these records.
2. Dereliction– In line with the second D, there needs to be evidence that the medical professional committed duty dereliction in their treatment to you in accordance with the expected standards of care. This is where an independent medical practitioner comes in. Their duty is to help you in proving to the courts that they would have acted differently if presented with similar circumstances.
3. Direct causation– For a medical negligence case to be worth pursuing, there has to be proof beyond reasonable doubt that the injuries you suffered are a direct result of the negligent act of the medical professional or hospital in question. If evidence shows that you could have acquired those injuries any other way, your claim may not succeed.
4. Damages– The final key thing you need to show is the damages caused by the doctor’s failure to competently perform their duty of care. This is in terms of emotional distress, physical injury, or financial loss. In line with finances, you can claim compensation for the money you spent treating your injury or even missing work. This is where hospital receipts and any photographs would be instrumental. Your own testimony will also be helpful in this instance. The element of damages will be instrumental in determining how much compensation you deserve.
These four elements must be proven to show that a healthcare provider indeed was negligent and did not provide reasonable care.
An important thing to note is that you need to be very time conscious to file a claim successfully. You have two years from your time of treatment or from the knowledge of the cause of your injury to file a claim. In the case of minor patients, the two-year timeline starts when they turn eighteen.
What Is The Difference Between Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice?
You may have noticed that the terms medical negligence and medical malpractice are used to refer to the same thing in most cases. However, when you really get down to it, they are different.
As we mentioned earlier, medical negligence is when a medical professional makes a mistake that results in harm to the patient. For instance, a doctor may fail to inquire about allergies from a patient and end up prescribing medicine with a component the patient is allergic to. The patient then suffers an allergic reaction after taking the medication.
On the other hand, medical malpractice is when a healthcare provider knowingly does something in the treatment process that harms the patient. Let’s consider the scenario in the previous paragraph. However, in this instance, the doctor asks about the patient’s allergies. Fully aware that the medicine in question will cause a reaction, the doctor prescribes it anyway. When this patient realizes what happened, they can rightfully file a malpractice claim against the doctor.
The difference between medical malpractice and medical negligence, therefore, lies in the issue of intent. Negligence can be easily looked at as a simple accident. Malpractice, on the other hand, is not an innocent mistake. In addition to paying for damages, a medical professional can have their license to practice revoked if found guilty of malpractice.
To file a successful medical negligence claim, you need to provide proof that a medical practitioner failed to provide medical assistance according to the standards required of them. To do this, you need to show the 4 Ds of medical negligence. Medical negligence claims are not usually easy to prove. That is why you need an experienced negligence attorney to help prove your case.