Medical Negligence

Medical Negligence or Medical Malpractice in Australia.

Date: 03/07/2023

Medical negligence or medical malpractice, refers to situations where healthcare professionals fail to meet the standard of care expected in their field, resulting in harm or injury to a patient. Medical negligence generally arises when a healthcare professional's actions or omissions fall below the standard of care expected in their field. What it means is that they have deviated from the level of skill, knowledge, and care that other competent professionals in the same field would reasonably provide under similar circumstances. Therefore, not all medical mistakes can be considered medical negligence.

Medical negligence is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. Medical negligence can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, birth injuries, and failure to provide appropriate treatment.

The Australian healthcare system includes a mixture of public and private service providers with appropriate accountability mechanisms. Medical negligence claims in Australia can be handled through the legal system.

To establish a case of medical negligence, several elements need to be proven. Firstly, it must be shown that there was a duty of care owed by the healthcare professional to the patient. This duty of care arises from the professional relationship between the two parties.

Secondly, it must be demonstrated that the healthcare professional breached their duty of care. This means that they failed to provide treatment or care that would be considered reasonable by other competent professionals in the same field as discussed at the beginning of this article. Establishing a breach of duty often requires expert medical opinion to assess the actions or omissions of the healthcare professional involved.

Thirdly, it must be established that the breach of duty caused harm or injury to the patient, which was foreseeable. This can be a challenging aspect of a medical negligence claim, as it requires proving a direct causal link between the healthcare professional's actions, foreseeability and the harm suffered by the patient.

The harm or injury suffered by the patient resulting in damages can include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other related costs.

In Australia, medical negligence claims are subject to time limits. So, it is important to seek legal advice promptly if anyone believes they have been a victim of medical negligence.


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