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A Medical Duty of Care

A medical duty of care that is owed by a doctor to their patient forms the focal point of a great deal of case law. If you believe you were injured by a breach of the medical duty of care that was owed to you, contact a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated at no cost or obligation to you.

However, doctors are not the only ones in the medical field that owe a duty of care to patients. A medical duty of care is also owed to patients by several other health care professionals and providers. Some of these are nurses, dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists and hospitals.

A legal obligation

A duty of care is regarded as being a legal obligation an individual has concerning an act or omission that could foreseeably result in harm to someone else. A duty of care means that a person has to act toward others and the public with the prudence, caution, attention and watchfulness that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would act with.

To put it more simply, a duty of care is acting in a way a reasonable person would in the same circumstances. This means doing what a reasonable person would do. It also means not doing what a reasonable person would not do.

Same or similar circumstances

A medical duty of care is the duty of care that is owed by health care professionals and providers to a patient until either the treatment or the relationship is ended properly. A medical duty of care is the legal obligation that health care professionals and providers have imposed on them to treat a patient with the degree of care, skill and diligence that would be expected of or possessed by a reasonably competent health care professional or provider in the same or similar circumstances.

The circumstances surrounding a medical duty of care include the area of medicine that the health care professional practices and the accepted or customary practices of other health care professionals in that particular local area. As they apply to a health care provider, such as a hospital or medical center, circumstances include things like an exigent (pressing, demanding) situation that surrounded the treatment or medical service that was given and the level of facilities and equipment that was available at that time and in that particular locality.

Has to be established

In determining whether a health care professional or provider was or was not competent in regard to their medical duty of care, a duty of care has to be established. For example, if a doctor is having dinner in a restaurant and sees another customer apparently having a stroke or heart attack, no doctor-patient relationship exists unless the doctor voluntarily decides to help that person.

In order to prove that there was negligence in regard to a medical duty of care, three things have to be established. They are:

A medical duty of care was owed
The medical duty of care was breached
The patient was hurt as a direct result of the breach.

Again, if you believe you have been injured because of a breach of the medical duty of care that was owed to you, contact a personal injury attorney and have your case evaluated at no cost or obligation to you.

Article written by James Shugart

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