Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical practitioner fails to diagnose or delays the diagnosis of an illness, injury or other condition.

What is a doctor’s obligation to his/her patients?

Under common law principles of duty of care, medical practitioners have a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care and skill when providing advice and treatment. This duty extends beyond the initial examination, and encompasses all aspects of their role in the provision of care, diagnosis and treatment of the patient.

Do I have a claim for compensation against my doctor?

Just because a patient suffers a difficult or negative outcome from medical treatment/advice, this does not mean they have an automatic right to compensation.

A claim of negligence in New South Wales can only arise when a plaintiff successfully establishes the following:

  1. At the time of the alleged incident, a duty of care existed between the plaintiff and defendant. (Duty of Care)
  2. The defendant acted in a manner that (at the time the service was provided) was below what was widely accepted by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice. (Breach of Duty)

Put simply, a similarly trained peer/medical professional would not have made the same misdiagnosis.

  1. The plaintiff has sustained an injury or loss. (Damage)
  2. That the injury of loss was caused by the breach of duty. It is not sufficient to just prove an act of negligence, which constituted a breach of duty of care.

It is also necessary to establish to the Court that it was this breach of duty of care that caused the damage in question. (Causation).

Seeking Advice

Very few medical negligence cases are simple and often require considerable investigation by experienced legal professionals. If you or somebody you know has suffered a medical injury due to the negligence of a doctor or medical practitioner, you may be entitled to compensation. For more information, please call Stacks Goudkamp on 1800 46 2359 to arrange a free, no-obligation assessment of your claim, or alternatively, make an online enquiry.

Written by Mark Crollos.

Mark Crollos is a paralegal in Julie Mahony’s Practice Group. Mark works on a variety of different compensation matters, with a particular focus on medical negligence claims.