Your Guide to Canadian Medical Malpractice

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice is the term when a doctor does not meet the demands of their profession. There are several ways this can occur, such as a refusal to provide care, a failure to obtain informed consent and providing negligent care. Below, we delve into each of these reasons in more detail, but they all achieve the same goal; a lack of professionalism and duty by the attending physician.

Refusal to Provide Care

Refusal to provide care from a physician does not refer to a lack of experience or a lack of familiarity with an illness or injury. Instead, it references a discriminatory tactic based on gender, ethnicity, nationality, mental or physical disability, economic or social status, and other forms of discrimination.

Failure to Obtain Informed Consent

When a doctor fails to obtain informed consent from a patient, it can be grounds for medical malpractice. Of course, consent is a tricky beast, and some exceptions are necessary. Typically, the concept applies to severe side effects or possible complications with a form of care or treatment and does not affect minor symptoms or uncontrollable events.

Providing Negligent Care

The most common form of medical malpractice in Canada is providing negligent care, and it is also the most broadly defined. Negligent care can apply to several issues during a medical procedure, and it is up to the individual and the legal system to establish negligence. However,

How Common is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice cases are not very common in Canada. Naturally, medical professionals strive to maintain diligent health standards and an exceptional quality of service. Additionally, watchdog organizations and government agencies maintain regular practices to oversee the industry and ensure adequate patient representation.

Although, even with these multiple preventative measures, there are still occasions of medical malpractice. For example, consider this CBC News interview with a patient who found out a sponge had been left inside his body after a bladder removal surgery. This instance is just one of many across Canada.

What Complicates Medical Malpractice in Canada?

As a result, the likelihood of medical malpractice may be higher than the number of cases would indicate. Additionally, organizations like the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) make the process for pursuing legal recompense even more difficult. The CMPA began in 1901 to provide legal support for physicians and has defended many physicians in medical malpractice suits ever since.

However, there are other complications with Canadian medical malpractice suits. Another reason this particular legal battle is uncommon is the laws that protect physicians from wrongful charges and personal attacks. Naturally, these laws are necessary to prevent unnecessary discrimination and heartache for doctors, but they can also make it very difficult to prove any wrongdoing.

In essence, the laws protect against basic human fallibility. As an example, if it can be proven that the doctor did everything reasonably possible medical malpractice may be off the table. Similarly, if they provided service that their peers endorse or reinforce, the courts are likely to favour them in time of judgement. Finally, if the occurrence was over two years ago, the statute of limitations will apply regarding the case.

How Can You Begin a Medical Malpractice Suit?

If you feel wronged and wish to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit, your first step must be contacting a personal injury lawyer. They have experience in these cases and can inform you of the appropriate next steps. Although, it is worth noting a final warning regarding the incredible difficulty of successful lawsuits in Canada.

First, the maximum compensation reward in Canada is only $350,000. Second, more than half of medical malpractice cases are abandoned, dismissed or discontinued before settling. In conclusion, of all cases that manage to conclude, only 1.6% rule in favour of the patient. These statistics paint a grim picture of likelihood, but it is no reason to stop the pursuit of justice.

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