When it comes to determining what duty of care a doctor is responsible for, you must consider credentials and specialties. Duty of care may vary between physicians based on their unique qualifications, especially if the doctor is not a specialist on the matter at hand. If the doctor is specifically qualified to adequately treat the condition, they are held to a higher standard of duty of care than a general physician who only has a passing knowledge of the subject.
Once a doctor-patient relationship is established, the doctor must provide their patient with a level of skill, treatment, and attentiveness that any medical professional of their caliber would deliver under the same circumstances. Civil courts are constantly striving to assign a concrete meaning to “duty of care” on a case-by-case basis.
When courts review medical negligence claims, they are forced to assign a standard of care to the defendant based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. From there, the courts can measure the defendant’s conduct against their perceived responsibilities.
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When a Doctor Has a Duty to Act
A doctor has the duty to act on their patient’s behalf to protect them. As such, they may be displaying negligence if they fail to act, and their patient suffers injuries as a result. A doctor’s duty to act is similar to the concept of duty of care in personal injury cases. As such, there are many ways of determining whether a doctor had a duty to act before their patient was injured, such as the following:
- The doctor created the risk that ultimately caused the patient’s harm
- The doctor volunteered to protect the patient from harm
- The doctor knows, or should know, that their conduct will harm the patient
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The Hand Formula Can Help Determine Duty of Care?
Judge Learned Hand created the Hand Formula during the United States v. Carroll Towing
case to help determine negligent liability. Today, the method is widely used in America’s courts to help determine whether a defendant has breached a duty.
The formula is as follows:
- B < PL
- B = burden of taking precautions
- P = probability of loss
- L = gravity of loss (excluding social losses)
Accordingly, if the burden of taking precautions is lesser than the probability of injury multiplied by the gravity of the injury, then the defendant displayed some form of negligent liability.
While medical malpractice claims are largely centered on “the 4 D’s of medical negligence,” which are duty, deviation, direct cause of injury, and damages, the Hand Formula is a good visualization to help measure breach of care.
How Medical Professionals Can Cause Birth Injuries
Negligent medical professionals can cause birth injuries through physical harm, mental errors, inexperience, or general negligence. Common causes of negligent birth injuries include:
- Missed diagnoses.
- Prescribing dangerous drugs.
- Using birthing tools incorrectly or unnecessarily during labor.
- Ignoring health risks.
- Offering improper advice.
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Common Types of Birth Injuries from Negligence
Negligent birth injuries range from soft tissue damage to wrongful death and beyond. Common birth injuries caused by medical negligence include the following:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, including intracranial bleeding, traumatic brain injuries (TBI), skull fractures, Caput Succedaneum, and Cephalohematoma
- Injuries to the eyes and face
- Nerve damage, which may cause paralysis, cerebral palsy, or Erb’s palsy
- Amniotic fluid embolism
- Brain damage from a lack of oxygen to the newborn’s brain
- External and internal bleeding
Birth Injury Lawyers Ready to Fight for You and Your Family
Knowing what duty of care a doctor is responsible for can help you recognize when you may have a medical malpractice claim. Here at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, we want you to know you are not alone during this difficult time.
Our attorneys represent birth injury victims, helping them to secure compensation for the harm a medical professional has caused their family. We may be able to help you do the same.
If you retain one of our attorneys, our legal team can be there to represent your case throughout the entire process. We can help assign a monetary value to your pain and suffering, investigate your accident to prove liability, offer legal counsel, and much more.
For more information about legal services from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, contact a team member today at (800) 222-9529. You can get started with a free case review and consultation.