What Constitutes a Medical Breach of Duty?

doctor with stethoscopeA medical breach of duty occurs when a healthcare provider doesn’t do their job in an
adequate, ethical or logical manner, Providing inferior treatment which then results in the
patient suffering mental or physical damages or personal injury also falls under the umbrella
of medical breach of duty. When you hear of medical malpractice or medical negligence
cases these are all due to a medical breach of duty in one form or another. In many cases,
there could be doubt issues relating to informed consent which occurs between a doctor and
his or her patient. A doctor might not have told the patient about complications or risks that
come with a particular procedure or treatment. When not completely informed the patient
may consent to the procedure without having all the necessary information. If the doctor
hasn’t explained things plainly and simply, the patient may misunderstand what they are
saying and not be fully aware of the possible ramifications of the procedure they are
agreeing to.

The Medical Duty of a Physician

One of the main aspects which must be determined in a case of medical negligence is
concerning the medical and moral duty the physician has to their patient. This effectively
means that as a healthcare provider, they are taking care of that individual regardless of
their medical condition and will treat any illness or ailment to the best of their ability. They
have an obligation to protect that patient from suffering and any additional harm or
unnecessary suffering. This doesn’t mean, however, that should the health condition of the
patient deteriorate the doctor hasn’t carried out their duty of care. Whilst there are obviously
certain scenarios where a doctor will, despite their best efforts, be unable to cure a disease
or successfully treat a serious injury, those who can be cured or healed are entitled to expect
to recover and the doctor is obligated to make this happen.

Acceptable Standards of Care

When a person makes the decision to file a lawsuit against a doctor or other healthcare
professional they must be able to provide the necessary legal components in order to pursue
the case with a view to winning. These components are as follows;

Duties Owed to a Patient

Every physician has an obligation to their patients. This is often referred to as the patient-
doctor bond but in fact it is their duty to provide an accepted standard of care. This must be
of a level that other professionals in the same field would have given.

Breach of Duty

If a physician fails to do their duty at a certain stage and administers treatment considered to
be lower than the accepted standard, they can be found guilty of breach of duty.

Contiguous Cause

Should the physician’s injuries or damages have occurred as a direct result of them
breaching their duty the patient has a contiguous cause or solid case. The term proximate
cause is also frequently used in this kind of legal case and means the same thing.

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