If you are suffering from an injury after seeing your Doctor or Surgeon, you have a range of options to get your health back on track. However, even doctors make mistakes, and it is important you understand your rights if you think they have. If you continue to experience issues here are some paths and how we can help.
In relation to medical negligence claims, surgical mistakes are when something goes wrong during, shortly following or as a result of surgery, which could reasonably have been avoided.
Surgery is a highly skilled area of medical practice and there are risks involved with every surgery. Although the standard of surgical care in Australia is generally high, things can go wrong. Sometimes, complications arise despite excellent medical skill and care being provided. Common examples include operating on the wrong body part, carrying out surgery that is not indicated or necessary, causing damage to another part of the body not involved in the surgery or failure to properly advise on the impact of the surgery.
A misdiagnosis describes a situation when your doctor tells you that you have some illness or condition, but it is incorrect. It has been estimated by Melbourne University study that the diagnostic error rate in Australia in a general practice setting is 10–15%, being 140,000 cases. Fortunately, most of these errors do not cause harm to patients, but some do. Concerningly, MDA National’s data indicates diagnostic error is the underlying cause of approximately half of the medical negligence claims involving Australian GPs, with hundreds of patients dying every year as a result.
Making a Claim
Medical mistakes do not always amount to medical negligence. To do so, it must be shown that:
- In making the surgical mistake, the medical practitioner did not exercise the reasonable skill, care or expertise to be expected of a medical practitioner of his or her position.
- Even if this is the case, it must also be shown that the error caused harm or injury to the patient, beyond the underlying condition the patient was being treated for. In some cases, surgical error does not result in any further material harm to a patient. In such cases, compensation would not be payable.
Situations can also occur where the risks of surgery are not properly communicated to a patient, causing a patient to undergo surgery they would not have had if they had been made fully aware of the risks involved. In such circumstances, if the undisclosed risk materialises, causing damage or injury to the patient, the patient may be able to sue the doctor or hospital for damages.
It is important to seek legal advice in relation to medical negligence claims as strict time limits apply for making a claim. If you believe you have suffered injury as a result of medical negligence come see our team for a free consultation.