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Can you sue a doctor for malpractice for being late or absent?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Doctors have busy schedules. However, this does not mean that patients should have to wait unnecessarily long for treatment, especially if such a delay could make a condition worse.

In some circumstances, if a doctor is late or does not show up at all to a care appointment, a patient could have a valid medical malpractice claim.

When being late or not showing up is medical malpractice

Not every case of a doctor showing up late or not at all counts as medical malpractice. For such an action to reach that level of negligence, the delay must cause harm or worsen the patient’s condition. An example could be when a doctor is late for a critical surgery, leading to additional complications or a disability that the care team could have prevented if the doctor had been on time.

However, if a doctor is a little late for an appointment and it does not affect the patient’s health, the situation is probably not medical malpractice. Also, something like running behind for routine check-ups typically does not qualify as negligence. Even in serious cases, unforeseen emergencies requiring the doctor’s immediate attention elsewhere might affect whether there was actually malpractice.

Necessary evidence for proving delayed treatment is medical malpractice

To prove that delayed treatment or tardiness is medical malpractice, patients must show that the doctor had a duty to provide timely care, that the doctor did not meet this duty and that this delay directly caused harm. Records of appointment times, notes on when the doctor arrived and details on how the delay affected the patient’s health are key pieces of evidence in proving malpractice.

Any type of medical malpractice is upsetting and demands justice. However, these cases have time limits for filing and some restrictions on compensation. This makes them more challenging than other types of personal injury claims, which is why anyone with a claim benefits by taking swift action.

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