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, Question of the week- THURSDAY 20TH DECEMBER – My medical condition has worsened due to my doctor failing to give me a referral- am I eligible to make a claim?, Brydens Lawyers

Question: My medical condition has worsened due to my doctor failing to give me a referral- am I eligible to make a claim?

There is imposed upon a doctor and all healthcare professionals an obligation to ensure that they conduct themselves with all due care and skill in and about the treatment of a patient. That is, the doctor or the healthcare professional has a duty of care to take all reasonable precautions for the wellbeing of the patient and to act in accordance with peer professional opinion so far as the treatment of the patient is concerned.

Sometimes things go wrong. The mere fact that there has been a poor outcome from an interaction with a doctor or healthcare professional is not in itself sufficient to establish an entitlement to a claim. What needs to be proven, ultimately to the satisfaction of the court, is that the doctor or healthcare professional did not act in accordance with peer professional opinion and were negligent and that as a result of that negligence, the patient suffered injury, loss or damage.

The failing of a doctor to refer a patient on for further treatment or investigation, could in itself establish negligence on the part of the doctor. What would need to be proven is that the failing of the doctor to provide the referral does not accord with peer professional opinion and thus constitutes negligence on the part of the doctor. It would be necessary to establish what exactly peer professional opinion was in the circumstances and whether such opinion provided for the appropriateness of a referral being given. If so, then the failure by the doctor to give the referral would constitute a breach of that peer professional opinion and therefore negligence on the part of the doctor.

Furthermore, it would have to be established that the failure to provide the referral caused injury, loss or damage to the patient. The failure to provide the referral in itself would not sound in any damages. Although same may constitute negligence on the part of the doctor it would have to be shown that the negligence caused or materially contributed to an injury, loss or damage suffered by the patient. That is, negligence with no consequences does not entitle the patient to make a claim.

The prosecution of any medical negligence claim can be complex and complicated. It need not be.  Brydens Lawyers have experts available to assist with the prosecution of any medical negligence claim in the event that you have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of a failing or any neglect on the part of a doctor or treating healthcare professional. If you have such a concern then contact Brydens Lawyers today. Strict time limits can apply.