Can I make a medical negligence claim for a misdiagnosis?

Published 20 Oct 2017

The path to becoming a doctor in Australia is long and arduous.

The Medical Journal of Australia interviewed a heart surgeon in 2012 who became fully qualified at the age of 34 – 17 years after first studying undergraduate medicine at the University of Sydney.

Medical practitioners are well-trained professionals who regularly perform a complex job in high-pressure environments. Nevertheless, mistakes can be made, and even the best doctors sometimes misdiagnose their patients.

But does misdiagnosis mean your doctor has been negligent? The answer depends on the individual circumstances of your case and how they relate to Queensland’s Civil Liability Act 2003.

We’ll try to untangle some of the confusion surrounding misdiagnoses and medical negligence claims.

Was my doctor negligent?

Under certain situations, misdiagnosis can be considered medical negligence, which would enable you to make a claim for damages.

Patients face significant risks if their doctor misdiagnoses a serious injury or illness. For example, failing to spot the symptoms of cancer could lead to delays in the appropriate treatment and unnecessary surgeries. In worst-case scenarios, misdiagnoses can result in the patient’s death.

However, medical negligence is only judged to have occurred if the professional in question breached their duty of care. According to the Act, medical practitioners have not contravened this obligation unless they acted in a way that is not widely accepted by peers as competent practice.

In other words, a doctor can only be ruled negligent if they fell below the standard of care that other medical practitioners, who are experts in the field, would provide in similar circumstances.

Plaintiffs must also prove that the professional’s negligence resulted in the injuries for which the individual is making a claim.

How can I prove medical negligence occurred?

If you believe you have suffered negligence at the hands of a medical professional in Queensland, it is important to gather evidence in support of your case.

Medical negligence claims are notoriously complex, which is why contacting expert personal injury law firms such as Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers is so crucial.

We have access to medical experts who can testify on your behalf if you’ve been the victim of negligence. The support of medical professionals is paramount in these claims due to the standard of care benchmarks set out in the Act.

Please get in touch with us today for more information on medical negligence claims in Queensland.

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