There is a widely held but untrue assumption that if a patient has a pre-existing condition that it somehow shields physicians from any claim of medical malpractice. It sounds rational on the face of it, it is going to be much more difficult to show that a physician’s blunder was the cause of a patient’s decline or premature death when the patient already had a serious, documented medical condition.
It doesn’t always work out that way though. Even when a patient is already debilitated or in excruciating pain, it is still conceivable that a physician’s carelessness or oversight could make the problem worse. If that is the case, then you might have legal grounds to file a claim for medical malpractice.
There are two essential elements that must be considered in medical malpractice claims such as this. The first element is proving that the doctor’s actions or decisions were the cause of the increased difficulties and not your pre-existing condition.
To establish this, Connecticut law turns to the standard of care. In generic terms, the standard of care is what a “minimally competent physician” would logically do under the exact same circumstances with the exact same equipment available. This standard can be applied to the primary diagnosis, the treatment strategy or any operational procedures.
Neglecting to match the standard of care means a physician can be deemed negligent in their responsibilities.
Did it Decrease the Quality of the Patient’s Life?
The second element that must be examined is whether or not the mistake or negligent action caused the patient’s life to decrease in quality, or speed up their death in any way?
For instance, if a patient has a knee that is always causing them pain and has very limited mobility, the doctor recommends surgery. During the procedure, however, the surgeon makes a mistake and the patient’s knee ends up being more painful or less mobile.
Sure, the patient had a pre-existing condition. No, there are no assurances that an operation will improve the situation, but if the surgeon’s mistake was the direct cause of worsening symptoms or caused the shoulder’s underlying condition to deteriorate, that could establish a case for medical malpractice.
Ineffective or Failed Treatment Does not Necessarily Equal Malpractice
It is essential to remember that just because a procedure is not successful in resolving what it was intended to does not necessarily mean malpractice has taken place. A physician might obey the standard of care to the letter and their patient’s condition still did not improve.
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, you need to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. Here at Moynahan Law Firm, our attorneys are prepared to respond aggressively to your claim and to see to it that you get the full amount that you deserve for your damages. If you would like to discuss your personal injury case with one of our experienced attorneys, then please reach out to us at (203) 597-6364 today.