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What duty does a doctor have to a patient?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2017 | Medical Malpractice

Seeking medical care for a condition shouldn’t be a gamble with your life. You count on the doctors who care for you to do the job they are supposed to do. The last thing that you expect is to suffer harm because of something a doctor’s negligence.

A doctor who is treating you owes you a duty of care. There are several things that you have to think about if you were injured at the hands of the doctor who was caring for you.

What is the duty of care?

Duty of care refers to the fact that a doctor owes his or her own patients care. In order for this to apply, the person who was injured must be an actual patient of the doctor. This means that if a doctor sees a person in distress in a restaurant who isn’t that doctor’s patient, the doctor doesn’t have a duty to do anything to save that person. If the person collapsed in the doctor’s office and is a patient, the doctor has a duty to treat that patient.

What is the standard of care?

The standard of care is the type of care that a doctor owes to patients who seek care from him or her. This is based on several facts, including the doctor’s training and experience. Essentially, you would expect a higher level of care from a doctor who has more extensive training and more experience.

You also have to take the doctor’s specialty into account. For example, you wouldn’t expect the same level of care from a family physician as you would expect from an oncologist if you are diagnosed with leukemia or osteosarcoma.

How are lax standards of care or duty of care established?

The circumstances of the case will establish whether either of these occurred. In some cases, you will need to have expert witnesses to testify if you are claiming that you didn’t receive the standard of care that you should have received. Your medical records and other similar points can all help to show your side of the story.

What kinds of compensation might be possible?

You might be able to seek compensation for the medical bills that resulted from the injury the doctor caused. You might also be able to seek compensation for lost wages if you had to take time off work to deal with the injury. Compensation for pain and suffering and other damages might also be possible, depending on the circumstances of your case.


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