Medical negligence claims are claims that a patient can make after he or she experiences suffering from malpractice or less than maximum level of care from a medical care provider. This can be made against any health care provider, be it a doctor or a dentist. Dentists are at risk of facing such claims if they fail to provide the expected level of attention and care expected from them.
The government is very strict when it comes to handling problems caused by medical malpractice, which includes errors in dental treatments. This is because statistics have shown that medical errors is actually a rising cause of death and injury in the country. The effects are scary: death, permanent physical injury, financial loss, and even emotional and psychological issues, not only to the patient but to his or her family as well.
Although dental negligence does not usually lead to death, they can cause permanent nerve damage from oral surgery, serious injuries, permanent changes or abnormalities such as permanent numbing, or a lot of unnecessary pain to the patient. All dentists have a standard level of care that they need to uphold. Any deviation from this, however minor the injury caused, may be used as grounds for a dental negligence claim.
Types of Medical Negligence Claims You Can Make
- Commission and Omission
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
- Erroneous Medication
- Specific Dental Negligence Causes
1. Commission and Omission
The two common types of medical negligence or malpractice that patients can make claims against are commission and omission. Commission is when a dentist commits an act that is inappropriate and leads to suffering on the part of the patient. Omission is the opposite; it is when the dentist fails to take a necessary course of action and, as a result, causes suffering for the patient. Both these acts, for them to be considered as malpractice, should deviate from the standards of dental practice that has been set.
2. Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose are other reasons for making a dental negligence claim. Misdiagnosis is often linked to ommission since, if the dentist fails to properly diagnose a certain issue, he or she will naturally fail to provide the correct course of treatment or may cause a delay in treatment. Both of these are considered as dereliction of duty, a popular ground for filing dental negligence.
A lot of medical and dental problems are usually more easily solved when they are detected early. Thus, medical negligence may also be claimed if the dentist missed or failed to detect a specific problem which they should have detected immediately. If the missed diagnosis leads to suffering, pain, or a permanently lost teeth, it is a ground for a medical negligence claim.
3. Erroneous Medication
Another common type of medical negligence is the administration or prescription of the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage of the drug. If a drug is prescribed at higher doses, it could easily lead to intense side effects and even overdose. Patients can also complain about personal injury caused by a dentist that prescribes a drug they are allergic to, but the patient has to prove that the dentist knew about the allergy in the first place but still prescribed the said drug.
4. Specific Dental Negligence Causes
There are some negligence causes that are unique to the dental treatment industry. For example, if a dentist removes a healthy tooth instead of the problematic tooth, the patient may sue for negligence compensation. If the instruments used by the dentist are not properly sterilized, patients can also use this as grounds for medical negligence claims.
Handling Clinical Negligence Claims
The government deals with all clinical negligence claims by placing them as a specialized area under the jurisdiction of personal injury law. It is fraught with the most complex legal principles since it is impossible to translate personal losses and suffering into a form that can be sufficiently compensated. At the same time, it is hard for sufferers to prove and display the extent of suffering or damage done to them and that it is really the effect of substandard care. This may entail the opinion of another medical professional who can look at the situation from a different medical perspective, not from an emotional perspective.
In these situations, it helps if the patient or the patient’s family has a good lawyer to back them up. But since this is a very tricky legal science, it helps more to choose your dental practice and dentist properly to avoid having to make medical negligence claims in the first place.