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Improper medical treatment may mandate monetary damages

Medical malpractice in Kentucky and elsewhere exists when a medical professional provides services that are recognizably substandard and below the minimum standard of care required of a reasonably competent practitioner under the same or similar circumstances. This standard of due care under the circumstances is the familiar obligation that must be honored in all cases based on negligence. Where substandard or improper medical treatment is provided to the patient, the provider is generally liable to compensate the patient for all damages flowing directly and substantially from the negligence.

Negligence requires a duty owed, a breach of the duty and causation between the breach and the harm caused. The duty is automatically established by virtue of the relationship of doctor and patient. The breach of duty consists of falling below the standard of care in the services provided. However, even if a doctor is negligent, he or she is not liable for damages unless it is proved that the injuries complained of were caused substantially by that negligence,

The imposition of liability may be imputed to hospitals and clinics under an agency theory of recovery. This means that the principal may be found liable for the tortious actions and resulting injuries caused by the agent while acting within the intended scope of the agency or employment. Each state has the right to impose restrictions and limitations on the patient's right to sue for medical malpractice. These laws fall into the so-called category of what the medical and insurance professions call tort reform.

Restrictions on the patient's right to sue for substandard or improper medical treatment are premised on the idea that the rising cost of health care is driven significantly by high medical malpractice awards. However, government studies have discounted that theory and concluded that the savings from tort reform would be no more than one half of one percent of the existing amount of health care spending, including here in Kentucky. An individual who believes that he or she may have been the victim of medical negligence will be best served by obtaining a consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.  

Source: findlaw.com, "Medical Malpractice Overview", Accessed on May 14, 2018

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