The medical profession is an ancient and respectable profession with the sole aim of saving or preserving lives. Patients will generally visit a medical professional or clinic based on his/its reputation. So the expectations of patients from medical professionals are two-fold, if not more. Medical professionals are expected to give medical treatments with all the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired over time. Besides that, they will not do what will cause harm to their patients in any way either because of negligence, carelessness, or reckless attitude.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is the breach of a legal duty to care. It means carelessness in a matter in which the law mandates carefulness. For example failure to diagnose or misdiagnose; misreading or ignoring laboratory results; unnecessary surgeries or surgical errors; improper medications or dosage; poor followup or aftercare.
An health worker such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physician assistant, etc can be held liable for medical negligence only if one can prove that he/she is guilty of a failure that no healthcare provider with ordinary skills would be guilty of if acting with reasonable care.
When a health worker treats a patient in a negligent manner causing harm or worsening the existing health condition, this gives a patient the right to initiate action against negligence.
Though medical professionals may not always be in a position to save their patients’ life at all times, they must use their unique knowledge and skills most appropriately. Moreover, they must do that, bearing in mind that their patients have entrusted their lives to them. So, it is with no doubt expected that medical professionals should carry out the necessary investigations of their patients. Furthermore, unless an emergency occurs, they must get the informed consent of their patients prior to any major treatment, especially surgical operations. Failure of a medical professional to discharge these obligations is medical negligence which may come with dire consequences.