What is a Medical Mistake?
Medical mistakes encompass a wide variety of instances in which a doctor, nurse or other medical provider fails to offer appropriate treatment or diagnosis, leading to injury or illness that could have been prevented with proper care. An estimated 70,000 Canadians fall victim to these circumstances every year, which have drastic consequences such as paralysis and wrongful death.
Negligent medical care can involve misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis or the overall sub-standard treatment of the patient, which is determined based on the treatment a similarly trained doctor or nurse would have offered if the patient had gone to see another provider. This may also apply if the doctor failed to refer the patient to a specialist or other physician who would have addressed the problem or condition correctly. Obstetrical negligence falls under this category in which a medical provider fails to recognize and treat issues that lead to injury to the mother or child.
Surgical and Medication Mistakes
Surgical, diagnostic, and medication mistakes are commonly involved in Canadian medical malpractice claims. Many people don’t realize just how often a surgical instrument is left inside the body, or an anesthesiologist fails to administer the proper dosage. These missteps can lead to severe injuries that cause patients to go through additional procedures and pain and suffering. The wrong medication or dose can even lead to death.
Refusing to Provide Care and Failure to Get Informed Consent
Doctors and other medical professionals can refuse to treat a patient if they don’t have experience or knowledge in addressing their specific health condition or concern; however, if a medical provider refuses to treat a patient based on discrimination such as gender, race, ethnicity, or marital status, these can be grounds for medical malpractice.
Additionally, doctors are legally and ethically required to notify you of the risks and side effects involved in your potential treatment, which is called “informed consent”. If your doctor fails to discuss the details of your medication, treatment, or procedure, and this failure leads you to make a decision without informed consent that results in injury or illness, you may have a medical negligence claim.
These are just a few instances of medical negligence in Vancouver and surrounding areas. There are many areas in which malpractice can occur.
How to Pursue a Medical Mistake Claim Under Canada Law
Canada uses a single-payer healthcare system. Physicians typically have a private practice and bill the insurance plan for services rendered. Doctors are required to carry medical liability insurance through the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), which means medical malpractice claims are aggressively defended on behalf of the doctors by the CMPA. The CMPA has vast resources, making pursuing justice and compensation challenging.
It is, therefore, crucial to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who understands the nuances of Canadian Law and medical malpractice. There are some ways you can strengthen your case, including saving all paperwork and records of communications (no matter how insignificant they may seem) and acting as soon as possible. There are time limits on how long you have to file a negligence claim for compensation, which in British Columbia is typically two years from the incident that caused injury, illness, or death.
At Stephens & Holman, we have the legal expertise to help you file and pursue your medical mistake claim, including access to medical experts to look over your files and confirm negligence occurred.