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The Basic Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Santo Domingo

The Basic Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Santo Domingo

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a legal term that refers to the failure of a healthcare professional to provide appropriate medical care according to the standard of care.

Medical malpractice is a type of personal injury claim filed against a doctor, hospital, nursing home, or other medical provider. A medical malpractice claim can be filed by the patient who was harmed or by someone on behalf of the patient, such as a family member or guardian.

The plaintiff in a medical malpractice case must prove that:

  • The doctor owed them (the patient) a duty for their treatment;

  • That duty was breached;

  • The breach caused the harm; and

  • The harm suffered and its severity.


What are the Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a serious problem that can lead to death or even disability. It is a form of negligence that occurs in the medical field. Medical malpractice can be caused by many things.

For example:

  • Lack of experience, incompetence, or recklessness

  • Lack of informed consent

  • Inadequate prescription of medications

  • Diagnostic error

  • Non-compliance with protocols and guidelines

  • Lack of communication between doctors and other healthcare providers

  • Perinatal injuries and those suffered by the mother during childbirth

  • Post-transfusion transmission of infectious diseases

  • Hospital-acquired infections or nosocomial infections

  • Error in cosmetic surgery

  • Error in surgical intervention

  • Inadequate staff supervision

  • Unreasonable time limitations for patient care.

What are the most common medical malpractice claims?

Medical malpractice claims are filed when a medical professional has been negligent in their duties and has caused harm to the patient.

The most common types of medical malpractice claims are:

Cosmetic surgeries: These cases involve people who have undergone plastic surgery and have experienced complications, such as infection, deformity, severe loss of sensation, or an object left inside the body.

Death due to surgical or anesthetic error: The death of a family member as a result of a surgical or anesthetic procedure.

Postoperative complications: These are cases of surgeries where there have been unreported, non-consented, or abnormally severe complications associated with a surgical procedure, such as post-fat transfer pulmonary thromboembolism in liposculpture operations.

Infections acquired in healthcare facilities: These cases involve people who underwent surgery and developed infections afterward, requiring medical attention.

Misdiagnosis: This type of claim is filed when a doctor misdiagnoses a condition, such as cancer or HIV, or another type of disease.


How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Santo Domingo

A medical malpractice claim is a legal claim filed against a doctor or hospital when the patient believes they suffered harm due to the provider's negligence, and is filed through a process before the civil, criminal, or administrative courts, depending on the type of case.

The first step in filing a medical malpractice claim is to find an experienced lawyer who specializes in this type of law. Then, the lawyer will provide legal advice and help you file your case with the appropriate courts.

You should try to obtain a complete copy of your medical record and gather evidence for your case, as well as document the progression of your case with images if possible. It is important to have documents, bills, and evidence that can be used to prove a doctor-patient relationship.

You should also keep in mind that to file a claim, you must do so within 2 years of the event.

How to Prevent Medical Malpractice and File a Claim?

Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the United States and can have emotional and financial consequences for patients, families, and healthcare providers worldwide, including in the Dominican Republic.

To prevent exposure to negligent services, always hire accredited professionals in their specialties, with necessary licenses and certifications. You can verify these on the websites and contacts of specialized medical societies and the Ministry of Health.

Here are some specific tips:

  • Fully exhaust the informed consent process with your patient.

  • Fully comply with the surgical protocol according to the medical standards of the moment.

  • Certify and accredit yourself properly to perform the procedures you offer.

  • Make sure to fully document everything that happens with your patient in the medical record.

  • Seek legal advice to acquire adequate medical liability insurance.

If you do experience medical malpractice, it's important to file a claim to hold healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes and improve the system. Contact us here for more information:

Frequently Asked Questions about Patient-Doctor Lawsuits

Q: Can I still sue even if I signed a document saying I couldn't sue?

A: Absolutely, you have the right to sue. Informed consent documents usually contain illegal and unfair limitations, or are void. Informed consent serves to document that you were properly informed of possible risks and damages, not to limit your rights.

Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

A: Two years from the time the damage occurred or you became aware of the damage.

Q: What if I was never informed about the possibility of the damage I suffered?

A: The doctor is obliged to inform you about all aspects related to your condition and treatment, so that you are properly informed. Lack of information is a common cause of damages that can be claimed in court. The Supreme Court has reiterated multiple times that failure to obtain informed consent is sufficient cause for compensation in favor of the patient.

Q: Can I sue on behalf of a family member who died during surgery or due to medical treatment?

A: Yes.

Q: Can I sue for my partner?

A: Yes.

Q: I was treated in an emergency room, can I still sue?

A: If you have suffered harm due to medical malpractice, even if it was in an emergency, you can sue for compensation for the damages suffered. The fact that you were treated in the emergency room does not change your right to receive appropriate service. Keep in mind that the informed consent regime in the case of emergencies may vary with respect to the regime for elective operations.

Q: I was operated on in a public hospital, can I sue?

A: Absolutely. The state is responsible for damages caused to citizens through the services it provides.

Q: Can they refuse me service in the emergency room for requiring deposits or advance payments?

A: No. The National Social Security Council (CNSS) reiterates that all Healthcare Service Providers (PSS) are prohibited from requiring deposits or advance payments from insured individuals under the Health Family Insurance. Resolution No. 546-01 instructs the Superintendency of Health and Occupational Risks (SISALRIL) to ensure the full compliance with this provision supported by laws 42-01, 87-01, and administrative resolutions.

Q: Can they refuse to give me a copy of my medical record? And if they deny me, what should I do?

A: The medical record is a right of the patient, as established by Law 42-01, article 28. If denied, the doctor or medical center is committing a serious offense that can generate a referral lawsuit for delivery of the Medical Record, as this is an illegitimate disturbance of the right to access the medical history you have. Seek legal help to claim it through a lawyer if this is your case. Contact us and we will help you.

Q: I got sick with a bacteria while I was at the clinic/hospital. Is that a cause for compensation?

A: It's probable. It will depend on the type of bacteria, incubation time, resistance to antibiotics, and other technical elements that will depend on each case. What is certain is that in terms of civil liability, nosocomial infection cases are recognized as objective responsibility based on the obligation of hygiene, cleanliness, and asepsis that must be met in the surgical and healthcare setting.

Q: I'm not sure if what happened to me qualifies as a legal case, and I'm not sure if going to a lawyer will be too expensive. What should I do?

A: At Medical Law DR, we offer a case evaluation service for people like you. Contact us with your case and we will give you an appointment to meet with one of our lawyers.



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