You go to a doctor for medical treatment because you cannot diagnose yourself. You also don’t have access to medical machinery or the ability to prescribe controlled substances like antibiotics or blood pressure medication.
You need a doctor to help you discover the cause of your symptoms and help you treat them successfully. Most doctors will do their best to help their patients, but they are still human beings capable of making major mistakes.
If you believe that your doctor’s negligence contributed to a bad medical outcome, you may wonder if you can bring a medical malpractice claim against them. Negligence is a valid potential reason to question a professional’s performance. What behavior constitutes medical negligence?
Not meeting an acceptable standard of care
Every patient needs the attention and consideration of a doctor during diagnosis and treatment. Doctors have to balance the need to treat many patients with the attention to detail typically necessary for positive outcomes. Every area of medicine, from post-surgical support to emergency triage, has established best practices for that area of medicine.
If the care your doctor provided to you did not comply with those best practices, they may not have provided you with an appropriate standard of care. If another physician with a similar education or background would have provided more care, different treatment or more diagnostic testing, you may have grounds to call your doctor negligent in the care they provided.
Jumping to conclusions to your detriment
Diagnosis involves either conclusively connecting symptoms to one cause, possibly through imaging tests, or reaching a diagnosis by ruling out possible causes. All too often, physicians arrive at a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning they don’t have clear evidence of a specific cause, without first ruling out possible issues.
Unfortunately, the result may be misdiagnosis and a patient not getting treatment or undergoing the wrong treatment. If better listening or more diagnostic tests would have helped a doctor reach the right diagnosis, their wrong diagnosis might also constitute negligence.
Essentially, if another medical professional would agree that your doctor did not make the right decisions in your case or that they failed to act as a medical professional should, you could have grounds to claim negligence. Learning about the rules that apply to medical malpractice claims that help you seek justice when your health care provider fails you.