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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhen most of us visit a doctor or other medical professional to address a health concern, we trust that he or she knows what they are doing and will be able to help. Understandably, doctors do not always immediately know what aliment is causing their patient to suffer. However, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. When a negligent medical professional misdiagnoses a patient and the resultant medical treatment (or lack of treatment) causes the patient harm, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate.

Diagnostic Errors Are One of the Most Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. Many times, a patient suffers from a complex array of conditions which may be challenging to identify and treat. Doctors and other medical professionals are not held legally responsible for every diagnostic error they make. However, when carelessness or negligence causes a patient harm, doctors should be held accountable. A successful medical malpractice suit includes the following elements:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor or other health care worker was negligent; and
  • The negligent party’s actions caused actual injury to the patient.

Understanding When a Doctor is Negligent

Negligence can be tricky to understand in the context of a medical malpractice suit. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself may be a mistake on the part of the health worker, but not necessarily evidence of negligence. Generally, a medical professional is negligent when he or she not provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent way. When deciding if a medical professional was negligent or not, courts may invite other similarly trained or experienced professionals to weigh in on the matters. If most medical professionals of similar expertise would have made a different decision than the medical professional accused of malpractice made, it is likely he or she will be considered negligent.

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