We are fortunate to have access to universal healthcare in Canada. Ontario has over 370 hospitals across the province, with more than 30 in Toronto alone. As a result of this accessibility we and our loved ones regularly encounter medical professionals in our daily lives. These include family doctors, walk-in clinics, pediatricians, specialists, imaging clinics, hospitals, nurses, and therapists.
Every time we visit a medical professional we place our trust in them. While many medical professionals are caring, compassionate, and competent, our healthcare system is far from perfect. Mistakes happen and patients do not always receive proper treatment and care. Medical errors can lead to catastrophic injuries, long-term disability, and even death. To make matters worse, when something goes wrong patients and their families are often “kept in the dark” by doctors, hospitals, and nurses and are left with more questions than answers. A medical malpractice lawyer can help get to the bottom of it.
As medical malpractice lawyers we routinely consult with patients and their families about personal injury and wrongful death arising from medical care and procedures including:
- Birth trauma
- Surgical errors
- Missed or delayed diagnoses
- Improper monitoring
- Hospital and nursing errors
- Lack of informed consent
- Prescription drug errors
- Paramedic negligence
- Cosmetic plastic surgery errors
While every case has its own unique facts, success in a medical malpractice lawsuit comes down to two considerations: standard of care and causation. Both must be established in order to prove that the conduct in question amounts to medical negligence.
“Standard of care” refers to the standard by which a medical professional’s conduct is assessed in law. The standard of care is one of “reasonableness”, not perfection. For example, a family doctor is held to the standard of a reasonably prudent family doctor; a surgeon is held to the standard of a reasonably prudent surgeon; and a nurse is held to the standard of a reasonably prudent nurse. Even if a medical professional makes a mistake, their conduct will not amount to medical negligence if their mistake was reasonable in the circumstances. A breach of the standard of care must be proved through expert medical evidence.
“Causation” is another critical factor in medical malpractice claims. In simple terms, an injured party must prove that the substandard medical care “caused” the harm. Without causation, even poor medical care resulting in serious injury or death will not amount to negligence in law. Like standard of care, causation must be proved through expert medical evidence.
Standard of care and causation in medical malpractice cases can be technical and complicated. As a result, medical malpractice cases are typically more challenging, costly, and risky than other personal injury cases such as car accidents. It is for this reason that many personal injury lawyers and personal injury law firms do not handle medical malpractice cases.
At Beyond Law, our lawyers are experienced in handling medical malpractice cases in Toronto and throughout Ontario. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries due to suspected medical negligence please contact us and we would be pleased to assist you.