The doctor-patient relationship has been defined differently through the
years. In the beginning it developed into a "common calling" which meant
doctors practiced medicine as a duty to their patients. Laws were developed to
protect patients, therefore doctors used proper care and expert skill. In the
past six centuries, medical malpractice has increased, which lead to revision
and addition to the law. Liability was introduced along with the "GIANT of all
torts", negligence. Now in today's society, a doctor's duty is to use
reasonable care, skill and judgment in the practice of his/her profession and
when negligent, take full responsibility.
What is malpractice? Malpractice is negligence. Negligence is a tort. A
tort is a civil wrong, therefore malpractice is a civil wrong. In its
simplest terms, malpractice has four essential elements: 1) Duty. Every
health care provider assumes a duty when starting consultations, diagnosis, or
treatment of a patient. The duty arises from an expressed or implied contract.
2) Breach. For example, if you fail to make a correct diagnosis once you have
assumed the duty to do so, you have created a "breach of duty", due and owing to
the patient. 3) Causal Connection. Your failure to correctly diagnose,
("duty" you "breached") the duty due and owing to the patient and as a direct
and proximate cause of your breach, caused damages. 4) Damages. The result of
your failure to diagnose correctly, the patient sustained damages in the form of
an additional hospital stay, complications that may or may not be of a permanent
and continuing nature. (Brooten Jr., Kenneth E. p. 1) Negligence is the most
common civil suit filed against doctors. Liability for negligence will not be
found unless the following factors are present: (a) the defendant must owe a
duty to the plaintiff to exercise care; (b) the defendant must breach the
standard of care established by law for his/her conduct;... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Medical Malpractice. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Medical-Malpractice-2494.html
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"Medical Malpractice." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Medical-Malpractice-2494.html.