1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Personal Injury
  4.  » When is an adverse medical event the result of malpractice?

When is an adverse medical event the result of malpractice?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2021 | Personal Injury |

At the end of a doctor’s appointment, we expect to feel better and be on the road to recovery. Sadly, this does not always happen when a medical professional makes a mistake or provides substandard care.

In these devastating situations, it can be crucial for patients to understand the difference between an adverse medical event and medical malpractice.

Elements of a medical malpractice claim

Medicine is not perfect. People respond differently to medication and have unique biological responses to illness. Thus, it is entirely possible for a person to experience medical events like infection, illness or worsening conditions, despite being treated by a physician.

But just because these outcomes are undesirable does not mean a patient is the victim of malpractice.

In order for someone to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Ontario, they must be able to show the following elements:

  1. The medical worker owed a duty of care to the victim;
  2. The medical professional failed to provide a standard level of care;
  3. The patient suffered harm as a result of that breach; and
  4. The medical practitioner’s action or inaction was a direct cause or contributing factor to the injury

In other words, if a medical physician acted improperly or failed to comply with reasonable medical standards while treating a patient, they could be responsible for any economic and non-economic damages that person experiences.

Challenges of building a claim

Some situations seem quite obvious when it comes to making a malpractice claim. Wrong-site surgeries or retained objects are some examples of egregious, avoidable mistakes doctors make that endanger patients.

Similarly, if there is evidence that a doctor was impaired, untrained or careless in their actions when treating a patient, negligence can be easier to prove.

However, medicine is highly technical and complicated. Test interpretations vary, and certain symptoms can suggest multiple conditions. Further, surprising events can arise during a procedure, requiring doctors and nurses to make swift decisions without the benefit of more information.

Thus, it can be challenging to build a malpractice claim without the help of a lawyer experienced in this area. Generally, they will know what to look for and how to determine whether the necessary elements are in place to pursue damages from negligent parties.

Book Your Free Consultation
Mississauga Office
3024 Hurontario Street
Suite G10
Mississauga, ON L5B 4P4

Toll Free: 800-625-9007
Mississauga Office
Free Parking