October 11, 2016
Like much of the Western world, Calgary's—and Canada's—population is aging. The "Baby Boomer" generation born in the years following World War II is at retirement age, and also at an age where medical needs begin to change and, in many instances, to increase significantly. This has coincided with a time of significant medical advancement and changes in the culture of medicine that may have serious legal implications.
As healthcare has advanced and enabled us to live longer we are contending with a growing number of conditions related to old age and a growing variety of ways to treat them. Not only are the techniques themselves changing, but the philosophies underlying care for the elderly and the chronically ill are also changing. An extreme example of this is in the recent decision by Canada's Supreme Court to allow for physician-assisted death for some chronically ill patients . More broadly, this new attitude can be seen in the growing use of hospice care and home health care here in Calgary and throughout Canada.
An overwhelming majority of Calgary's medical professionals act with their patients' best interests at heart at all times. Mistakes can be made, however, and when those mistakes are made outside of a doctor's office, hospital, or other medical facility—such as in the patient's own home—some people may not realize that they still have the right to pursue a medical malpractice claim. If you've suffered a serious injury caused by negligence on the part of a medical professional, in your home or anywhere else, you deserve to be compensated for your costs and the disruption to your life.
All Calgary Medical Professionals Are Held to Strict Medical and Legal Standards
As with all personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases in Calgary involve the legal concept of negligence. We all owe each other a certain duty of care in maintaining our properties in a safe condition for guests, behaving carefully in public (e.g. following the traffic rules, using sidewalks in a way that won't injure others, etc.), and so on. If we fail in that duty of care by leaving an open pit on our front lawn, driving into someone else's car, or riding a bicycle at high speed down a crowded pedestrian walkway, we have been negligent. If that negligence causes someone else to be seriously injured, we are responsible for the costs of that injury.
Medical professionals have a special duty of care when treating patients. They need to adhere to the established standards of their profession, follow medical and ethical guidelines when presenting treatment options and moving forward with medications and procedures, use appropriate diagnostic techniques, and more. Because of their important role in restoring and preserving health, they are required to have extensive and ongoing education so we in Calgary can always receive the best care possible.
When they make a serious mistake, it can rise to the level of negligence, and that makes them responsible for the costs of the injuries they cause.
Contact a Calgary Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
We'll discuss the specific legal implications of home healthcare workers in Part 2 of this article. If you have questions about injuries you or a family member suffered as a result of medical malpractice, please contact the dedicated medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie today, and schedule a free initial consultation at our Calgary office.
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