The Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, explains that though the prompt diagnosis of a medical condition will be critical, it is far more important that the diagnosis be correct. Sadly, serious health conditions do get misdiagnosed and patients end up undergoing treatments they do not actually need. Apart from the significant consequences a patient may suffer from not having their medical condition treated, it is possible that the wrong treatment they have been receiving will actually be dangerous in and of itself.
Many patients and patients’ families feel that questioning a doctors’ judgment is not only difficult: it is improper. Though they have all the right to do so, they worry that this may send a wrong message to the doctor, who may interpret queries as lack of trust. They should know, however, that even the best and very famous doctors, like everyone else, can commit mistakes. Some of these mistakes are improper treatment.
As different from wrong diagnosis, in an improper treatment case, a doctor has correctly diagnosed his or her patient and, therefore, knows exactly what the patient’s health problem is; however, for whatever reason, this doctor provides his/her patient with the wrong treatment.
There are different ways through which improper or wrong treatment may be committed, some of these include:
- Giving a patient the wrong dose of a drug;
- Prescribing a drug to a patient despite such patient’s known allergy to such drug;
- Delaying, rushing, or performing an unnecessary or a dangerous treatment;
- Inadequate monitoring of a patient; and,
- Failing to take the necessary measures which will prevent a disease.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a patient approaching a doctor expects medical treatment with all the knowledge and skill that the doctor possesses to bring relief to his medical problem. The relationship takes the shape of a contract retaining the essential elements of tort. A doctor owes certain duties to his patient and a breach of any of these duties gives a cause of action for negligence against the doctor. The doctor has a duty to obtain prior informed consent from the patient before carrying out diagnostic tests and therapeutic management. The services of the doctors are covered under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 and a patient can seek redressal of grievances from the Consumer Courts. Case laws are an important source of law in adjudicating various issues of negligence arising out of medical treatment.