Remember the last time your doctor medicated your tonsillitis with half a dose of aspirin? Or tried to calm your stomach with a generous dose of PUDIN HARA? Now imagine your doctor messing up your eye and making you blind for the rest of your life. Feeling spooky? Medical negligence happens all the time? and it is real.
Medical negligence is the legal cause of action which comes into play if your doctor does not provide you with the suitable healthcare that you deserve. It ranges from small laxities like forgetting the right procedure to bigger issues which can lead to unintended catastrophic outcomes. Withholding the course of treatment from the patient can also be brought under the umbrella of medical negligence. In fact, even forgetting to mention the treatment administered in the discharge reports can amount to negligence.
The ultimate aim of any legal action pointing to medical negligence is to correct the injury done to you by the medical professional, by securing adequate compensation in lieu of the damage done to you.
Knowing what the small and often neglected errors are is the area that needs attention. One emerging area is medical implants. Consider the scenario where the procedure of device implantation goes horribly wrong.
Another area that is not often highlighted is the role of medical device manufacturers. The truth is that very often there are defects in manufacturing of these faulty implants – which the company producing them is aware of but does not reveal to the medical community. They are liable for jeopardizing the safety of thousands of potential patients.Therefore, it is not only the doctors up on whom you could file a criminal case or a civil case for compensation, but also the manufacturers of these defected implants. In the US and Europe, Johnson & Johnson is in the process of being fined millions of dollars for making defective polypropylene implants.
Similarly, cancer is another area where gross deficiencies in treatment often lead to serious and avoidable injuries to patients. A case where doctors misinterpreted cancer a diagnosis reports was also recently considered medical negligence. Understanding this scenario is the key to making your case successful.
There are 2 ways of approaching a case of medical negligence. First would be to file a civil case which would make it easier to garner financial compensation from the defaulter(s). The other approach is to file a criminal case in case of gross cases of medical negligence. But the important detail to keep in mind is to approach a lawyer who is comfortable with medical terms and is in the know about the medical procedures undertaken by doctor – or has prior expertise and experience in dealing with complex cases of medical negligence.
The next step towards obtaining relief would be to prepare your case. Before preparing the case, one needs to gather all medical records pertaining to the case at hand. It may include the discharge summary, diagnosis reports and any other records of medical procedures carried out. After getting all these documents in place, go meet a lawyer with the requisite expertise in handling such cases and as mentioned before, has the knowledge about medical terms and procedures.
The final question one has in mind is what to expect if we present the case in a court of law. The law has equipped us with proper answers to tackle medical negligence. In a recent verdict by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a government doctor and the hospital were made to pay almost Rs 2 crores to the parents of a small child who went blind due to the gross negligence of the government doctors treating her. The compensation ultimately depends on the severity of the injury and the degree of negligence in each case presented.