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How a Doctor’s Duty of Care is Involved in a Birth Injury Claim

A birth injury may occur if a doctor or member of medical staff acts negligently or in error. When this is the case, the medical professional or institution may be liable for medical malpractice. Pursuing a medical malpractice case may secure the compensation needed to care for an injured child. However, securing this compensation requires proving that a specific duty of care was not upheld. Below, we outline what a doctor’s duty of care is, and ways in which a doctor may fail to act on this duty.

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A Doctor’s Duty of Care in a Doctor-Patient Relationship

To pursue a medical malpractice case, you must first show that you were a part of a doctor-patient relationship when the malpractice occurred.
One way to prove the above is by obtaining medical records and other documents. Without such proof, the doctor may claim that treatment or monitoring was terminated before the negligence occurred.

The Duties of a Doctor to Their Patients

Once you have established the doctor-patient relationship, a doctor’s duty of care applies. Stated in general terms, this duty of care refers to the standard practices that any competent doctor would engage in under similar circumstances. That is, a doctor must act on the best medical knowledge of the time and in accordance with certain standard procedures. Irregular, abnormal, negligent or erroneous practices may indicate medical malpractice.
More specifically, a doctor’s duty of care consists of:
  • The duty to correctly diagnose and treat a condition. Many birth injuries are the result of a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose, or their making an erroneous diagnosis. This failure may occur when a doctor incorrectly assesses the mother’s condition or the child’s condition. When a failure in diagnosis occurs, it is often accompanied by incorrect treatment or procedures. This puts both the mother and child at serious risk. When pursuing a medical malpractice case, you must prove that a reasonable physician would not have acted in the same manner.
  • The duty to warn and advise patients. A doctor’s duty of care also requires they inform a patient about potential risks of a procedure. Without this information, a patient cannot knowingly consent to a type of treatment.
  • The duty to supervise a patient’s condition and treatment. Because a doctor has many patients, it is common for a doctor to delegate tasks to other staff members. However, a doctor’s duty of care requires that they continue to supervise and monitor a patient’s progress. If another staff member acts negligently, the doctor may be responsible for failing to adequately supervise or manage the care.

When a Doctor’s Actions Becomes Medical Malpractice

To summarize, the duty of care in healthcare is an important element in any medical malpractice case. Medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries are no different. This is because proving medical malpractice entails proving:
  • There was a doctor-patient relationship at the time of the negligence.
  • This doctor-patient relationship established a doctor’s duty of care to both the mother and child.
  • The doctor breached their duty of care by acting contrary to how a reasonable physician would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.
  • This breach is directly linked to causing the birth injury in question.
  • The birth injury caused the patient to suffer quantifiable damages, such as medical costs and loss of normal life, for example.

Contact a Trusted Birth Injury Attorney to Pursue a Medical Malpractice Case

If your child suffered from an injury at birth, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice case. Your child’s birth injury may have long-term consequences. You may encounter high medical costs from your child’s ongoing treatments. At the same time, your child’s quality of life may suffer as a result. However, a medical malpractice settlement may secure the compensation needed to cover these costs.
The birth injury lawyers of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. may be able to help you pursue this compensation. To learn more about our extensive litigation services, give us a call at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online.