A patient seeking help to repair an existing injury or treat an illness should not be getting further injured by a medical professional that has been entrusted with their health. A patient wants to know that the medical professional will be liable for the damages caused if they end up hurting them. While a plaintiff has to prove a number of elements to be successful with their case, the defendant has a number of defenses that they can use to combat the claims. Learning which defenses can be used during a medical malpractice case will help the plaintiff know how to counter those attacks. Various defenses may be used including, but not limited to the these below:
Defenses of Standard Negligence
While the basis of a plaintiff’s medical malpractice case is negligence, it can also be the reason of defense for the defendant. With this defense, a doctor might argue that they provided reasonable care during their job functions, or that the medical mistake was not the cause of the patient’s injury. It can be difficult to disapprove a negligence element if it has already been proven, but the doctor may have a defense if they are able to show that the patient was negligent in their own actions. For example, a patient that does not give their physician their full medical history, might not be able to recover for damages that were caused due to not providing this information.
Defenses of Contributory Negligence
A great example of contributory negligence is that of a patient that is sent home after an operation with the instructions to clean the wound to avoid infection, yet the patient fails to do so and contracts an infection that causes him to remain hospitalized for 10 days. This is one of the most commonly used defenses against negligence. Contributory negligence happens when the patient’s conduct falls to a certain level that places their own protection at risk, and with this misconduct, it enhances the negligence that was committed by the physician. In other words, the harm could have been avoided had the patient not acted negligent and contributed towards their own harm.
Defenses of Respectable Minority Principle
With this defense, a respectable minority of medical professionals must support the line of treatment that the doctor decided to take, whether it was a new treatment or a more radical one. Of course, the physician must first obtain the informed consent from the patient before deciding to proceed with the procedure.
Defenses of Good Samaritan Laws
Many laws have been set in place for people who come to the medical aid of another, known as “Good Samaritan”. This means that a medical professional that helps another person during an emergency situation would be legally protected if anything were to go wrong during their assistance. However, a person of the medical field that voluntarily offers their help must provide that person that same standard of care as they would if they were treating them in a medical setting that another doctor would have under that same situation.
Errors in medicine is an extremely confusing topic that requires a lot of understanding of medical terminology and the legal advice of a professional Orlando doctor error litigator. If unsure, feel free to contact the Orlando malpractice attorneys Firm of Percy Martinez.