Legally, doctors are not obligated to assist anyone they come across that has a medical issue. However, once a doctor-patient relationship has been established between a patient and the doctor, the doctor owes the patient a duty of care. This means that the doctor must adhere to the standard of care commonly accepted by reasonable physicians in the same field of medicine.
If a doctor in Virginia fails to adhere to the proper standard of care, they may have legally breached the duty owed to the patient. If the breach of duty causes the patient to suffer harm, the patient may file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor that treated them, as well as other parties responsible for their care, asserting negligence.
Proving medical negligence
The human body can be unpredictable. As a result, even the world’s top physicians do not always get the best outcome possible when treating a patient. That is why an unfavorable outcome or unsuccessful procedure is not enough to establish medical negligence.
To prove medical negligence, you will need to present evidence that shows that the medical professionals responsible for your care did not take reasonable steps to administer your care. Common forms of medical negligence include:
- Medication errors: Prescribing incorrect dosage of medication, prescribing incorrect medication, etc.
- Surgical errors: Performing surgery on wrong body part, leaving surgical sponge or tool in patient’s body cavity, etc.
- Diagnosis errors: Failing to perform necessary testing to timely diagnose patient etc.
- Anesthesia errors: Failing to properly administer anesthesia etc.
Proving medical negligence will typically require expert testimony from medical professionals in the same field of medicine confirming that the doctor did not act in accordance with the accepted standard of care. The expert may testify that if he or she was facing the same circumstances as the defendant doctor, he or she would have acted differently.
If you have received negligent medical care and have suffered injury because of it, consider speaking to a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible.