The legal responsibility of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare providers is a duty that most of these professionals take seriously. And, while the intention to do no harm is always present, healthcare professionals do sometimes make mistakes. A doctor’s refusal to accept you is not a medical malpractice issue. In fact, doctors may refuse to treat patients for personal reasons as well as when he or she and the patient disagree about a treatment plan. However, when a doctor accepts a patient into his or her care, that doctor is legally bound to provide that patient with proper care. When that proper care is violated, a medical malpractice has occurred. Medical malpractice in Canada that can be sued for include medical malpractice due to negligence or a failure to get informed consent from a patient.
Negligence as a Case of Medical Malpractice
A Canadian healthcare provider is considered negligent if he or she fails to give you the standard (type)
of care that a reasonable provider would give under similar circumstances. When that negligence causes
you illness or an injury then that healthcare provider, doctor, nurse, or hospital must compensate you for the damage they have caused you. The standard of negligence depends upon whether or not a reasonably competent doctor with the same qualifications would have avoided the omission or error that caused you harm in similar circumstances. This doesn’t mean that healthcare providers are liable for every mistake; it means that when the mistake occurred, the doctor is liable in cases where he or she should have known better. Doctors must make quick decisions, sometimes without having the best information to do so. And, the law takes this into consideration. The type of behaviour as well as the type of behaviour expected of a doctor becomes questionable when a doctor doesn’t use reasonable judgment in his or her diagnosis or treatment of a patient and causes harm.
Failure to Get Informed Consent as a Medical Malpractice
Any time you visit your doctor, he or she must tell you what your condition is, what treatment is being proposed, the risks of that treatment and other treatment options available to combat your illness or injury. Without such information, you can’t consent to treatment. Doctors don’t have to explain all the possible risks of a treatment plan, but he or she must give you the information that a reasonable person in your position would want to have to make a reasonable decision about that treatment. Failure to give you adequate information by your doctor that results in harm to you is medical malpractice. And, if your doctor leaves out some information, but the court determines that a reasonable person in your situation would have agreed to the treatment anyway had the doctor provided you with all the information, your doctor will not be held liable for damages you might incur.
When a doctor tells you of the risks of a particular plan of medical treatment, he or she doesn’t have to explain all the possible risks – just those that a reasonable patient would want to know before deciding about treatment. If a doctor doesn’t give you all this information, the failure could be medical
malpractice, but only if the failure caused your problems. Even if a doctor doesn’t give you all the information, the doctor won’t be liable if a reasonable person in your position would have agreed to the treatment anyway, even if the doctor had given them all the information.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Experienced in Medical Malpractice If you Have been Injured by a Doctor
Your best practice for avoiding a medical mistake is to talk to your doctor about your concerns whenever he or she discusses a particular treatment plan with you. Ask questions, seek other opinions, and do some research on your own. However, should you fall victim to a medical malpractice, know that you do have the legal right to hold your doctor accountable. If you believe that you have been injured by negligence or a failure to have given proper consent and need to file a lawsuit against a doctor, contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice law for a consultation.