Many people are often unhappy with the treatment they receive from a doctor or health professional. This is very different from clinical negligence [which is simply another term for medical negligence and means exactly the same thing]. Actual clinical negligence covers very serious breaches of care and can result in a legal battle. The guidelines for what constitutes clinical negligence are fairly clear, and assessing whether or not you might have a claim for clinical negligence against your doctor or healthcare professional can be made easier by bearing them in mind.
Has there been a breach of the duty of care?
The first aspect which must be considered is whether a breach of duty has occurred. The existence of the duty of care by the health professional towards you is already established, as the person has been employed to provide medical care to you. Proving the breach of that duty is the trickiest aspect. Just because damage has been caused and another person is responsible for that damage is not enough to prove clinical negligence. As all patients are different and respond differently to care, a certain amount of leeway is given to doctors as medical science is not as predictable or exact a science as many people assume.
This is an important distinction to make, as it allows for doctors and medical professionals to allow a certain amount of risk, giving them the freedom to ensure they can find the right cure or treatment for you. Tightening this amount of leeway would discourage doctors from finding the right course of action for each individual patient. It is also the case that their actions should be considered unreasonable by the standards of a regular, competent doctor. If your treatment simply did not work out as well as had been hoped, you would not have grounds for claiming medical negligence.
Would a competent professional have done the same?
Only if the level of care was found to be below that which is expected of a competent professional, and that it was this direct action which caused injury or death, and that the injury or death would have been avoidable had the action not been taken, could there be a case for clinical or medical negligence. Trying to ascertain the existence of negligence alone can be difficult, and it is for this reason that it is highly recommended that you speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor if you suspect that you might have been in a position where you might have suffered a negligent medical error.
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