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Elmhurst Medical Malpractic AttorneysWhen most people experience pain or other medically significant symptoms, they go to the doctor to find out what is wrong. They trust that the doctor will evaluate their symptoms, perform any necessary exams and tests, and determine a diagnosis. Once the patient receives a diagnosis, treatment can begin. However, this is not always what happens. Some people go to the doctor and do not receive a diagnosis in a timely manner. What happens if a doctor fails to diagnose a condition or takes too long to diagnose the condition and the patient gets worse? Is delayed diagnosis considered medical malpractice?

Understanding the Four Elements of Medical Malpractice

Although terms like “medical negligence” or “substandard medical care” are sometimes used as if they are synonymous with “medical malpractice,” medical malpractice involves more than poor medical care. A patient, or the surviving family of a deceased patient, has a valid medical malpractice claim when four elements are present:

  • Duty – The doctor, specialist, or other medical provider owed a “duty of care” to the patient. This criterion is met by the formation of a doctor-patient relationship.

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Cook County medical negligence attorney

Few would argue that healthcare professionals have a very challenging occupation. Doctors and other medical professionals are expected to interpret vast amounts of medical data and patient information and use this information to make educated decisions about patient treatment plans. Although medical professionals are fallible just like everyone else, they are held to an exceptionally high standard regarding patient care. A mistake in the diagnosis or treatment of a medical condition can cause severe patient suffering or even death. If you or a loved one has experienced a negative surgical or healthcare outcome or received substandard medical care, you may wonder if you were the victim of medical malpractice.

When Does a Medical Mistake Cross the Line into Medical Negligence?

The majority of medical malpractice claims are founded upon the legal concept of negligence. Medical negligence occurs when a medical professional acts in a way that deviates from the accepted medical practice. Of course, understanding when a healthcare worker’s actions deviate from the accepted medical practice is not always easy – especially for someone who has no medical training. Proving that a medical worker acted negligently is often the first step in a medical malpractice claim.

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When you go to the doctor, you expect him or her to listen to your concerns with compassion and make thoughtful diagnoses and recommendations. You also probably expect that when you get admitted to the hospital or get surgery, you are in the capable hands of a devoted staff of medical professionals.

Unfortunately, this is not always the experience people have. Too often, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are burned out and fail to provide a standard level of care.

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We note a truism concerning the medical industry in a recent Kaiser Hafezi blog post: "The direct results of negligently delivered care are widespread and frequently devastating for victims and their loved ones."

One particular category of negligence merits special attention from medical malpractice law firms. That is the realm of so-called "never events."

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No reasonable person in Illinois or elsewhere expects medical care providers to be perfect. We know that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab techs and other industry principals, while highly trained, are not infallible.

What we do rightly expect of them, though, is competence and their adherence to an established standard of care that prevails in the health care community.

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