Four Cardinal Elements of Medical Negligence Litigation

The instances of doctors and other medical staffs breaching their respective duties are aplenty in the UK. NHS (National Health Services) publications often depict these negligence cases. The problem is that the patients who suffer due to the negligence of the doctors, nurses and other medical staffs need to prove that the concerned practitioner or his assistant or the authority was negligent and that resulted in his ailments and injuries. Most of the claimants fail to prove medical negligence and the negligent medicos are not proven guilty as a result. Here below are four cardinal elements of any clinical negligence claim case explained in a sequential manner for further reference of the claimants.

Duty of care was owed

The simple rule in this regard is that if a patient was under a doctor’s supervision, the physician owed him a duty of care. This is again based on the eternal doctor-patient relationship ethics. However, under the English Laws, the physicians are expected to act in a ‘reasonably practicable’ manner and should also diligently follow the standard of practice as defined in the rulebook of the healthcare provider which they represent. This implies that the doctor is expected to apply his skills in a way which is expected from all physicians in his specialization category.

Duty of care was breached

In order to prove that a duty of care was breached, medical negligence solicitors refer to the logical professional standards. It is inspected by the solicitors whether the concerned physician acted by the rulebook of the healthcare provider for which he works. Proving breach of duty comes easy in some cases. For example, if it is found that a doctor amputated an organ from a patient’s body unnecessarily and if it is proved that proper medication was a feasible alternative for treating that ailment, the doctor can be sued.

Breach of duty caused injury

However, it is highly important to prove that the breach of duty of care actually caused the injury received by the patient or the plaintiff. Therefore, there must be some obvious impact of the breach of duty. Resultant injuries and illnesses are the biggest evidences in a hospital negligence case and one should undergo diagnosis for proving that his doctor was negligent in his duty. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you meet a specialist after being victimized and get all the reports that can solidify your claim for compensation. Keep in mind that you should seek proper clinical care before things get unintelligible.

Breach of duty caused financial damages

The fourth cardinal element of a clinical negligence case is the resultant financial damages. Financial damages are compensated for liberating the plaintiffs from the resulting financial burdens. A medical negligence victim may have to shell out a substantial amount of money for taking medical care and may miss his working days. Compensation payout is calculated keeping in mind all these unwanted financial losses.

In order to commence compensation claim litigation against doctors at fault, victims need to understand the basics of a case of this type and referring Wikipedia or any other web-based authentic source is the best way to do that.

Medical Negligence Claims in South Africa

There are many reasons why medical negligence claims have increased dramatically over the past few years in South Africa, ranging from a doctor having to treat more patients than he can handle because the hospitals are understaffed, a doctor is not being paid enough money in the public sector, to patients being fed up with bad service and the violation of their rights as patients according to the Patients Rights Charter.

While it is not always easy to lodge a claim against any professional, many people find the thought of lodging a medical negligence claim against their doctor a daunting task. Medical malpractice lawyers specialise in medical law and malpractice, and with their knowledge and expertise they will be able to advise you on whether you have a strong enough case or not.

Your lawyer will also be able to advise you on what type and the amount of damages you can claim for, if any. Sometimes patients are merely seeking an apology from the doctor and other times they seek claims amounting to hundreds and thousands of rands, sometimes even millions – depending on the case.

In South Africa, medical malpractice claims can be made against individuals like nurses, physiotherapists, doctors, psychologists, anaesthetists, and even hospitals. Whether you lodge a claim against an individual or against an entire hospital will depend on the employment contract between the individual and the hospital.

Examples of medical negligence claims in South Africa include:

  • The wrong diagnosis
  • A medical instrument left behind in a patient’s body after surgery
  • A patient not treated fast enough
  • The wrong medication has been prescribed
  • The patient’s wrong body part has been amputated

South Africa has a public health system that is way below par and standard, the door for medical malpractice claims are left wide open. Unfortunately, those patients who fall victim to medical negligence in the public health system are usually unable to afford legal representation and slip through the cracks in South Africa.

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is there to protect the rights of patients and guide the medical professionals of this country. The Council encourages victims of medical negligence to lodge a complaint through their system.

Patients in South Africa are not always aware of their rights and often don’t even realise they were treated in a negligent manner. If patients were more aware of their rights, the amount of medical malpractice claims may either rise even more or become less because doctors and other medical professionals are finally treating patients with the care and respect they deserve.

Even though the negligent act happened while a person was a patient at a hospital, and the patient suffers or die at home because of the negligent act, the patient can still claim by lodging a medical negligence complaint against their doctor.

When a person is admitted to hospital and becomes a patient, the staff at that hospital is under contractual duty to treat patients according to a certain set of standards as set out by the law in South Africa. If a patient is treated below standard, a medical negligence claim can be lodged