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Can a Primary Care Doctor Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Medical Malpractice

rolling meadows medical negligence attorneyIt is not uncommon to develop a strong, trusting relationship with your primary care physician (PCP). Over time, you come to realize that your PCP is someone you rely on to look out for your best interests when it comes to your health. While most PCPs are highly trained, competent medical professionals, some such doctors occasionally make errors that lead to substantial harm for their patients. Such mistakes include failing to diagnose a condition, prescribing the wrong drug, and much more, and they can lead to patient harm that should have been prevented. If you or a member of your family has been hurt by the actions or inaction of a PCP, a qualified medical negligence attorney can assist you in determining the best course of action.

When Is a Mistake Considered to be Negligence?

To become a doctor, an individual is required to successfully complete many years of education after high school, including a significant period of training on-the-job. That being said, physicians are still human, and they make mistakes from time to time. Some mistakes are essentially harmless, but others can lead to serious patient injuries or even death. When a doctor’s error causes a patient to experience new or worsening medical problems, the situation could be considered to be medical negligence.

In general, a physician is considered to have been negligent if he or she failed to adhere to the prevailing standard of care for his or her particular area of practice. The prevailing standard of care refers to the level of care that a reasonable and competent doctor with similar education and experience would provide under circumstances similar to the situation in question.

Diving Deeper into the Prevailing Standard of Care

In some ways, proving that a PCP’s error rises to the level of medical malpractice is somewhat subjective. Doing so, in fact, generally requires testimony from respected experts in the same area of practice.

It is important to realize that a PCP is not expected to have the same level of knowledge about a particular part of the body that a specialist would have. Instead, a PCP’s level of care must be compared to the care provided by other PCPs.

For example, if you presented at your PCP’s office with an uncommon set of symptoms, it is up to your doctor to follow the prevailing standard of care by ordering sufficient tests in an attempt to diagnose your condition. As a PCP, he or she needs to know if the condition is one that he or she is capable of treating or if a referral to a specialist is required. If your PCP decides to skip testing, however, he or she could be found negligent if your condition worsens to the point where it becomes more difficult, invasive, and expensive to treat. In such a case, a medical expert’s input may be necessary to show that your PCP did not adhere to the prevailing standard of care and that you were harmed as a result.

Call an Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney

For more information about medical malpractice claims in Illinois, contact an experienced Arlington Heights medical negligence lawyer. Call 847-797-8000 for a free consultation at Newland & Newland, LLP today. We will work hard to ensure that your rights are fully protected every step of the way.



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