We've recently discussed various issues that can be relevant in bringing medical malpractice cases in Connecticut. These include some of the procedural requirements, as well as how such cases differ from other negligence cases, and on what factors a court may rely to determine whether a case merits being judged according to those differences. We've touched on the fact that medical professionals have a standard of care that they must meet when treating patients. This week, we'll take a look at a related, but different, duty the law imposes on medical professionals: that of informed consent.
About a month ago we discussed the basic elements required for a claim in Connecticut to be considered medical malpractice rather than a traditional negligence or other tort claim. You may remember that we identified three prongs that arise from the state's case law that, if present, require a suit to be handled under the Connecticut medical malpractice law. These are: that the defendant is sued in his or her capacity as a medical professional, that the negligence is of a medical nature and is part of the doctor-patient relationship and that the harm alleged involved medical judgment and was substantially related to medical treatment or diagnosis.
The last time this space discussed medical malpractice we touched on the difference between the standards that are used in a traditional negligence case and those used in medical malpractice actions. You may recall it has to do with the "reasonable person" standard used in the former cases, and the reasonable professional exercising the accepted standard of care in the latter. While this may make sense in theory, how, in practice does one know which standard to apply?
We've previously discussed in this space that many medical malpractice suits in Connecticut are based on the concept of negligence. Negligence is a legal concept that comes down to us from the common law, which has its origins in England a long time ago. Suffice to say the basic idea of negligence has changed through the years and is a bit more well-defined now that many states have codified what it means and the methods of showing it in court. But, while medical malpractice cases may often rest on a negligence theory, there are some differences that should be understood.
Mistakes made by medical professionals can have devastating consequences. Despite their years of training, doctors and other people in the health care industry make errors that can harm their patients. In such situations, patients harmed by a medical professional's error may want to take legal action. First of all, however, the state of Connecticut requires that anyone filing a medical malpractice claim based upon negligence submit a 'good faith certificate' along with the initial petition.
Patients rely on the expertise of medical professionals everyday. Whether he or she requires a surgery for an injury, illness or an elective procedure, much trust is placed with the medical professionals performing the surgery. However, errors and medical negligence could occur, causing the patient to endure unexpected harm.
We trust healthcare professionals to care for us in a ways that will benefit our health and well-being. That is often their goal as well, however, sometimes things go wrong. This can be unintentional, but harmful just the same. If doctor error or hospital negligence has left you or a loved one injured, potential damages could be awarded.
When someone is at fault for doing something wrong to you, it can be a terrible situation. However, most parents would agree that it is worse when someone does wrong to your son or daughter. Such was the case for a Connecticut mother when a visit to the OB/GYN turned into the shock of her life when she discovers she is pregnant. However, the OB/GYN did not check the fetus until it was too late.
Our Connecticut residents have likely read or heard of cases where a healthcare provider misdiagnosed an illness leading either to delayed treatment and progression of disease or resulted in unnecessary treatment and invasive medical procedures. In both instances, depending on the facts of the case, the patient could have suffered harm due to the misdiagnosis and the patient and their loved ones could potentially have a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor.
Many people may have noticed that today's practice of medicine is very different from what it used to be. Connecticut residents who have recently visited their physicians to get some healthcare service may have noticed how ingrained medical technology is in clinics and hospitals with doctors using sophisticated technologies and even providing care remotely.