Does this qualify as medical malpractice?

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Does this qualify as medical malpractice?

My family and I have been very dissatisfied with our psychiatrist for a long
time, but her behavior has gotten more severe. I am a minor, but my mother
wants to look into whether this qualifies as malpractice. She has ignored us
many times for months at a time, and frequently gives prescriptions with the
wrong dosages. My brother and I suffer from ADHD and anxiety, and I also suffer
from depression. This doctor failed to diagnose me with ADHD, although I began
seeing her because my therapist at the time strongly believed I had ADHD, and I
had only been diagnosed while hospitalized. She also makes it so my brother and
I do not consistently get our medications, and the only reason we get what we
do is because my mother saves old dosages because of our doctor’s habit of
doing this. We have looked into seeing another doctor, but she is the only
nearby psychiatrist that our insurance will cover. I am wondering, does this
qualify as medical malpractice? Should we look into pursuing a lawsuit? Thank
you for your time.

Asked on April 25, 2017 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In a medical malpractice case 2 things must be shown: (1) due to another's negligence (2) a person suffered harm as a result. In this case, there is no question that you suffered physical harm, however the issue of negligence may or may not be present. In such a case, if a doctor fails to make an accurate diagnosis of a health condition, the issue is whether the doctor breached the applicable "medical standard of care" under the circumstances. In other words, would a doctor with similar training in the same medical community have identified the problem? However, while you appear to have a claim here, proving medical negligence can be difficult. This is why you should consult with a personal injury attorney as to your case; such a consultation is typically free.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Malpractice is the provision of medical care that is negligent or careless, or otherwise does not meet generally accepted standards of care. Proscribing the wrong dose of medication, failing to diagnose, etc. may certainly be malpractice, and you'd have a reasonably good chance of proving her fault if you were to sue her.
However, if you were to sue, you could only recover an amount of compenstation equivalent to the provably injuries, costs, or losses you suffer due to the malpractice: that is, you have to show how the malpractice harmed you to receive compensation. Since a malpractice case can be very expensive to bring (you need to hire a doctor or other medical expert to write a report and testify), it may not be worth bringing the case unless you have suffered significant provable costs or harm due to the malpractice.


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