When you are diagnosed with a medical condition, a doctor’s care can be invaluable. Each doctor carries the responsibility of doing everything within his or her power to make a person well again. Although every doctor takes an oath to do no harm, tens of thousands of patients become victims of medical malpractice each year due to doctors failing to live up to their duties to patients. Here’s an overview of what these duties are.
Establishing that a Doctor-Patient Relationship Existed
In order to prevail in a medical malpractice case in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or anywhere else in the United States, you must first establish that a doctor-patient relationship existed between the medical professional and you. This must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as different scenarios can create a doctor-patient relationship. Listening to a doctor you overheard giving advice in a grocery store or party, for example, does not create a doctor-patient relationship.
Duties of Medical Providers in Pennsylvania
Once you have established the existence of a doctor-patient relationship between yourself and the person who caused your injuries, you must then prove that the doctor owed a duty of care to you as a patient.
When treating a patient, a doctor must use the degree of care that would ordinarily be exercised by any doctors practicing in his or her specialty. In other words, a doctor must act with the standard of care that the average doctor would use if faced with similar circumstances.
Additional Duties in a Doctor-Patient Relationship
In addition to the general duty of care owed to a patient, a doctor has several additional duties toward his or her patients.
- Duty to Warn: when a doctor explains a treatment to a patient or advises a patient of the need for surgery, a physician has a duty to provide all pertinent information to the patient with regard to potential outcomes. For example, a doctor must advise a patient about potential adverse side effects of prescription medications and disclose any consequences or heightened risks that a surgical procedure may carry with it.
- Duty to Oversee Treatment: while a doctor can hand off certain tasks to nurses and other healthcare staff, the decision to delegate such tasks must be reasonable under the circumstances. If a doctor assigns a nurse to perform a treatment, for example, the doctor should ensure that delegating this treatment is reasonable and that another doctor would make the same decisions under the circumstances.
If you are able to prove that a doctor or healthcare provider owed a duty to you as a patient and did not live up to that duty, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor.
Injured by a Doctor’s Negligence in Philadelphia? We Can Help
If you believe that you may be a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. When you are armed with the representation of an attorney from Gilman & Bedigian, you can fight your case knowing that you are equipped with the legal knowledge you need to obtain a settlement you deserve. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or contact us at (800) 529-6162 today.