It is usually the case that a visit to our doctor will be enough to receive the medical advice required to send us away on the road to recovery without any further intervention being required. However, on occasion, GPs act negligently which results in complications being suffered by the patient. This may lead to further treatment or surgery which would have been unnecessary but for the GP’s negligence.

More and more people in South Africa are taking their doctors and other healthcare professionals to court for medical malpractice – so much so that the increase in litigation is contributing to our high medical inflation. But you can’t take such action lightly: the legal process is fraught with pitfalls and can be very drawn out, and the costs can be high. You need to be sure of your case, and of all the hoops you’ll have to jump through, before pursuing a claim.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.
Although it is not unheard of for a doctor to alter medical records, it is extremely rare. If your doctor does alter your medical records, this fact alone will not irreparably harm your case. There have been major advances in forensic technology over the past years. It is now possible to detect changes in ink, spacing, and handwriting that may have been made by your doctor when he tried to alter your records.

The study recommended reforming the system by increasing funding for legal services, so attorneys could be compensated for their time; making defendants who lose a case pay the plaintiff's attorney fees; or sending malpractice complaints to an administrative system with neutral adjudicators and medical experts so patients wouldn't need an attorney.


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A doctor has to tell you about your condition, the nature of the proposed treatment, the risks of the treatment, and other options that you may have. You can’t consent to treatment unless the doctor gives you all this information. A doctor does not have to explain every possible risk, just the risks that a reasonable patient would want to know before deciding on treatment. This includes explaining what could happen and the likelihood of it happening.
Is our situation unique? According to the MPS report, in the United States there have been two waves of legal reforms prompted by medical malpractice claims: one in the mid-80s and another in the early 2000s. Reforms were driven by an increase in insurance premiums and concerns about access to health care. Since 2000, 29 states in the US have introduced limitations on damages; some limit both “economic” and “general” damages (compensation for pain and suffering), while others cap only general damages.
A about a month ago, I called my Doctor office, about an issue I was having, he gave me an antibiotic, but never ran any test to determine my problem. I was having the same problem about a week after, I called again. I was given another antibiotic, and finally he ran a urine test to determine if I had a UTI. It came back ok, he still had me on an antibiotic. I then got worse and I had to go to the ER, and get treated, I then called my Doctor the Monday after, and was seen in office, he looked at me real quick, pushed me out the office and just said I had a STD, and treated me for it with 2 more types of antibiotics he did not run any test to determine if I had an STD,. He made me believe that I had a disease and I felt so low and scared and angry. I have since wrote a letter to my Dr, asking for him to see me and please address my issues in detail with me. He has refused and has decided to drop me as a patient and told me to see a new Doctor. I read where in Pennsylvania you can sue a Doctor for emotional distress, is that true can I sue my Doctor for emotional distress?
Previously, a New York appeals court had also ruled that a couple was allowed to sue a fertility clinic for emotional distress after the clinic implanted the female plaintiff’s embryo in another woman, and although neither of the plaintiffs suffered physical injuries, the appeals court ruled that the couple had suffered substantial emotional injury due to the defendants’ breach of their duty of care.   
Like any profession or job doctors and other medical professionals can make errors of judgement or neglect to carry out their duties to the required standard. Usually this is not the case and the vast majority of medical practitioners do excellent work every day in our hospitals and clinics. When they do occur, however, incidents of hospital negligence and medical errors are often due to the pressure (and fatigue) of working long hours in what is undoubtedly a stressful environment.
In a handful of states, the court sets (or at least can consider the reasonableness of) the percentage that a plaintiff’s medical malpractice lawyer can receive after a successful case. For example, in Arizona, either party may request that the court review the reasonableness of an attorney fee agreement in a medical malpractice case.   And in Tennessee, the court itself sets the amount that the attorney will receive, and the lawyer's "cut" may not exceed 33 and 1/3 percent.
If you do have cancer and the pain and suffering that you may experience is increased because of the late diagnosis or if your life expectancy is shortened because of the late diagnosis, you may have a viable claim for medical malpractice. But, you would have to prove that you are worse off now than you would have been even if you were diagnosed earlier.
Although medical mistakes cannot always be prevented, help is available when these unfortunate situations change the course of victims’ lives. The pain and suffering that victims are left to contend with cannot be erased, especially when death or a chronic condition is the result of medical negligence. Personal injury compensation may help to ease the burden of physical and mental trauma from a medical mistake.
Thank you. I'm not interesting in merely being compensated for medical bills. It's frustrating that I can be injured due to this company's negligence, miss out on earnings & the ability to live life normally, although for a short period of time, I still suffered, and they can be absolved of those damages and only be responsible for medical bills. In that case, what's the point of obtaining medical debt, if medical debt is the only thing that will be reimbursed, I'm no better off than just time wasted having a doctor tell me what I already know. Oh well, guess this company will get away with negligence.
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In most cases, only the primary physician (your doctor) can be sued for misdiagnosis. In rare cases, other health care professionals may also be liable if their negligence caused or contributed to the patient’s harm -- including nurses, lab techs, and any specialists who may have seen the patient. The hospital or health care facility where the doctor practices usually cannot be sued for harm caused by misdiagnosis. That’s because most doctors are independent contractors, not employees of the hospital, so the facility can’t be held legally responsible for the doctor’s negligence.      
However, our legal system is set up in such a way where monetary damages is not only a way to compensate persons for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering; it is also there as a way to hold doctors accountable for their actions. Without the threat of monetary sanctions and lawsuits, doctors would lose some motivation for conducting their professional lives in a careful and cautious manner. Furthermore, if you doctor did negligently injure you or a loved one, bringing suit against him may serve as a wakeup call and could possibly prevent him from injuring someone else in the future.
If you have been injured by a doctor, then the first step you MUST take is to request a copy of you medical records. This may be a little difficult, because some offices may try to stall or stonewall you. They will also charge you a copying fee for doing this, so be prepared. However, federal law states they must provide you with a copy of your records if you request it. These files may contain information about what went wrong with your treatment to cause the injury in question. That is why it is necessary to get a copy as soon as possible. (It should also be requested quickly after the incident because some records can be altered.) Simply contact the doctor’s office and ask for a copy of everything. This should include all notes from the doctor and other staff as well as lab work and medical imaging such as x-rays or CAT-Scans. If the incident occurred at a hospital, check with their medical records department for this information.
There are two general types of pain and suffering: physical pain and suffering and mental pain and suffering. Physical pain and suffering has to do with a medical malpractice victim’s actual physical injuries, i.e., his/her bodily injuries. It also includes conditions like scarring, disfigurement, and permanency of the malpractice victim’s injuries.
"Once an allegation is made that the patient was admitted in a particular hospital and evidence is produced to satisfy that he died because of lack of proper care and negligence, then the burden lies on the hospital to justify that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctor or hospital. Therefore, in any case, the hospital is in a better position to disclose what care was taken or what medicine was administered to the patient. It is the duty of the hospital to satisfy that there was no lack of care or diligence. The hospitals are institutions, people expect better and efficient service, if the hospital fails to discharge their duties through their doctors, being employed on job basis or employed on contract basis, it is the hospital which has to justify and not impleading a particular doctor will not absolve the hospital of its responsibilities."
Whether the doctor lived up to the standard of care will likely require an expert opinion. One of the issues the expert will examine is the defendant doctor's differential diagnosis method. When trying to diagnose a patient, a doctor makes a list of diagnoses in order of probability and tests them by asking the patient questions, making further observations of the patient, or ordering tests. The goal is to rule out diagnoses until there is only one diagnosis remaining. However, in many instances, a doctor learns more information that requires him or her to supplement the list with other potential diagnoses.
When you’re faced with any kind of legal action, the decision to hire an attorney or go it alone and represent yourself is one that should be weighed very carefully. In particular, you might focus on two key questions: What is at stake? And how complex is the legal territory? Let’s look at both of those questions in the context of a medical malpractice case.
Calitz explains that to bring a successful medical malpractice claim, you need to prove that the treatment you received deviated from a particular “standard of care”, and that it was the deviation (which can be an act or omission) from this standard that resulted in harm. The “standard of care” is defined as what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.
If a personal injury claim was always as simple as only having special damages, things would be more clear cut. However, a personal injury claim almost never ends at special damages. Oftentimes, an injured person also suffers non-monetary damages that one cannot easily place a price on. This is the problem with pain and suffering claims, and thus the need for a way to calculate a number that is fair for the insurance company and the injured victim and family.
Returning to the fender bender case example, in small claims court it would be pretty easy to make your case.   You could produce a police report showing the reporting officer’s conclusion that the other driver was likely at fault. You could produce two sworn written statements from eyewitnesses saying that they saw the other driver run the stop sign. And you could produce two repair estimates to establish what you lost.
The doctor was negligent. Just because you are unhappy with your treatment or results does not mean the doctor is liable for medical malpractice. The doctor must have been negligent in connection with your diagnosis or treatment. To sue for malpractice, you must be able to show that the doctor caused you harm in a way that a competent doctor, under the same circumstances, would not have. The doctor's care is not required to be the best possible, but simply "reasonably skillful and careful." Whether the doctor was reasonably skillful and careful is often at the heart of a medical malpractice claim. Almost all states require that the patient present a medical expert to discuss the appropriate medical standard of care and show how the defendant deviated from that standard.
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