What is Duty of Care in Healthcare in Ontario?June 11, 2021
Establishing Duty of Care In Healthcare in Ontario
The first thing you must do in any medical malpractice or medical injury case is to establish the responsible party and determine if that party had an obligation to you as a patient.
The duty of care in healthcare is pretty simple. If a doctor accepts you as a patient, they have a “duty” to provide you with quality care. If a healthcare worker accepts your case, such as a home nurse or a nurse managing your hospital room as “their patient,” also has a duty of care to you as a patient.
When that duty of care is breached, the patient is injured. This could be a direct injury, such as failing to set a broken bone properly, or a patient could be harmed by a failure to treat a condition or misdiagnosis.
The only time that duty of care does not apply is when a patient receives medical care through casual contact. For example, if you are in an elevator and a doctor steps in. They start a conversation with you about why you are at the facility. The doctor makes an observation and gives you medical advice. The advice then turns out to be incorrect.
If you were injured following that advice, the doctor could not be held responsible unless you sought out that specific doctor for that specific treatment. The interaction was casual, and there was no real medical basis for the opinion because the doctor was not considered your doctor. Duty of Care Checklist
If you need help establishing the duty of care for a medical care provider that has caused you injury, speak with a lawyer that manages personal injury claims.
Why Is Establishing Duty of Care Necessary?
If you are filing a personal injury claim, your lawyer must be able to show the following four facts:
- There was a duty of care in place at the time of the accident. This helps establish who was responsible for the injury and why they were responsible. In medical injuries, it would be the medical care provider, and their duty was to provide quality care.
- There was a breach in that duty of care. This means that quality care or care that should have been expected from the care provider was received.
- That breach in care caused the patient injury. The poor quality of the care caused an injury to the patient either from the direct care received or lack of care received due to misdiagnosis.
- That injury has caused the patient financial harm. The financial harm can include medical costs to correct the injury, financial losses from not being able to work, or other losses that your lawyer can show are related to the injury.
All personal injury cases must meet these four qualifications before the court system accepts them.
Medical Injuries Can Be Complex Issues
If you have been injured while receiving medical care, the case can become complex very quickly. Establishing a duty of care can be simple when only one medical professional is involved in the case but can quickly become complex in a hospital or care facility setting.
As soon as you realize that you have been injured by the medical care that you have received, it is essential that you speak with a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer will protect your rights as an injury victim and begin the process of establishing the duty of care and overall responsibility for your injuries so that a claim can be filed.
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