Another potential cause of action is intentional infliction of emotional distress. This is based on a doctor’s outrageous conduct that intentionally or recklessly causes a patient to suffer severe emotional distress. This must be beyond a mere slight as it must be something that would outrage society. The common law tort required a physical manifestation of injury, but most jurisdictions no longer require this element. This cause of action has been successful in some cases in which patients recorded their doctors performing medical treatment while mocking and ridiculing the patient to a serious degree.
For claims based on negligence, the cases might be barred in various states based on the presence or lack of physical injury. Some states don’t allow emotional distress claims particularly in cases where the suffering is a direct result of physical injury. Conversely, other states require the plaintiff to demonstrate or show evidence of the physical harm suffered or illness that has resulted from the emotional distress. And other states limit NIED claims strictly to emotional distress that is experienced directly or as a bystander within a region of physical danger.
There was a violation of the standard of professional conduct - The law acknowledges that there are certain legal standards that are recognized by the profession as being acceptable conduct. These standards of professional conduct are largely determined by the ethics rules of the state bar association. Attorneys have an obligation to their clients and the bar to operate within these standards. Clients have the right to expect attorneys will follow the law, behave in an ethical and honest manner, act in the best interests of their clients with integrity, diligence and good faith, and will execute their matters at a level of competency that protects their legal rights. Lawyers must also maintain and supply clients with full and detailed reports of all money and/or property handled for them. Finally, attorneys must not inflict damage on third parties through frivolous litigation or malicious prosecution. If it is determined that the standards of professional conduct have been violated, then negligence may be established.
First, and perhaps of greatest interest to U.S. citizens, when a doctor commits malpractice overseas, in most instances it will not be possible to obtain jurisdiction to sue the doctor in an Oregon court. There may be rare circumstances in which a doctor has the contacts with an American jurisdiction required to sue here, but that will be the rare exception. Moreover, even if a patient obtains a judgment in the United States, it may be very difficult to enforce the judgment in a foreign country. Ultimately, a malpractice victim will likely be faced with pursuing a claim abroad.
To establish whether or not your doctor has been negligent they will have to be shown to have been in a position where they owed you/the patient a duty of care and that you or the patient suffered direct harm as a result of their negligent management of this care. The decisions the doctor made and the treatment they gave will be assessed. If it is found that they acted in a way in which other doctors would not have acted, and this resulted in a negative effect, you will have grounds to make a successful medical negligence claim.
How can you prove that a reasonable doctor would have reached a different conclusion? First, it’s important to understand the concept of differential diagnosis. Doctors use a system called differential diagnosis when diagnosing their patients. After evaluating the patient, the doctor is supposed to make a list of conditions that match the patient’s symptoms and rank them based on how likely it is the patient has the condition. Then, it is up to the doctor to eliminate conditions off of this list until he is only left with one, which will end up being what he diagnoses the patient with. To eliminate other conditions on the list, the doctor must order tests, asked detailed questions about symptoms, examine the patient’s medical history, or refer the patient to specialists.
Having a solid prove of the elements of an emotional distress claim can be challenging. As the plaintiff, you are required to obtain a medical report an orthopedists or psychologists detailing the physical or emotional injuries suffered. To prove emotional distress, you need to show that the mental anguish was intense and lengthy. As well, the more severe or violent the underlying conduct was, the more likely you’ll be able to link your distress to that conduct.
My younger brother died almost 2 years ago. He coded (his heart stopped beating) a couple days after a colostomy procedure. The doctors rushed him into surgery as he was clearly bleeding internally. They didn't find the source of the bleed, but after looking for a while, gave up and closed the surgery anyway. He continued to bleed, which led to two more surgeries, more complications and his eventual death.
There are many alternatives to litigation. Depending upon the jurisdiction you are in -- and whether there are caps on damages that may come into play in a formal trial -- you may wish to consider these options. Remember that in many cases alternative dispute resolution is simply part of the trial process and not the endgame. Your best first step might be discussing your options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.