Medical negligence seeks to ensure that you always receive competent care, otherwise known “as a duty of care”. A duty of care includes an accurate assessment of any health problems, and a plan for the right course of treatment based on your condition. When medical practitioners, who can be consultants, surgeons, nurses, medical professional or anyone else in the medical profession fail to provide a proper duty of care, medical negligence recourse allows you to receive compensation for any resulting injury or harm.
You must prove three basic elements to bring a viable medical negligence claim for misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose:
- The medical professional owed you a duty of care at the time of the alleged error in diagnosis
- The medical professional’s mistake amounted to negligence, and
- You suffered harm or injury due to that negligence.
What Constitutes Negligent Diagnosis in Medical Negligence?
Medical professionals act negligently when they do not provide the quality of care that other reasonably competent medical professional would have provided in similar circumstances. In medical negligence claims, you have the burden of comparing the quality of care that other reasonably competent medical professionals would have provided in the same circumstances.
Once you prove the medical standard of care that another reasonably competent medical professional would have achieved, you must prove that the medical professional failed to achieve that particular standard of care. A medical professional might fail to achieve the standard of care in any of the following ways when it comes to a diagnosis and medical negligence:
- A medical professional might incorrectly conduct or interpret a blood or any other test that could cause a mistake in narrowing down or even denying the possibilities of treatment.
- A medical professional might fail to recognise the urgency of one of the possible medical problems, again in narrowing down or even denying the possibilities of treatment.
- A medical professional might fail to include an important potential medical problem on the initial differential diagnosis list.
- A nurse might fail to properly provide diagnostic medication, altering the patient’s response to the medication and leading the medical professional to the wrong conclusion.
Did the Diagnostic Error Cause Harm, Pain or Injury?
In order to win compensation in a medical negligence case based on the premise of either misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, you have to prove that your medical professional’ negligence caused foreseeable harm, pain or injury. This harm, pain or injury can take many forms, including trauma and suffering, the cost of medical bills, the loss of earning income, the provision of care, either temporary or in extreme cases for the rest of your life and loss of your quality of life in the same way as prior to the harm, pain or injury.
The key issue in a Medical Negligence Claim is whether harm, pain or injury was caused by the error in diagnosis. It is enough to merely show that harm, pain or injury occurred after the medical professional was negligent.
Be prepared though for a long and arduous road in a Medical negligence claim and it is essential that you instruct a Personal Injury lawyer to navigate that road on your behalf.