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What is Dermatologist Medical Malpractice?

Published: Oct 12, 2020 in Medical Malpractice
medical error

When a patient chooses a doctor, the patient expects the doctor to make sound recommendations and perform work according to the highest standards. Sometimes, doctors breach this expectation of professionalism, which is known as medical malpractice.

All doctors can be held responsible for malpractice, including dermatologists. A dermatologist focuses on helping patients who have concerns related to the skin, nails, and even hair. For instance, people may contact dermatologists when they experience skin troubles, such as acne, skin pigment discoloration, or the growth of new moles and spots.

Dermatologists have the ability to prescribe topical and oral medications, as well as give patients recommendations involving lifestyle changes and over-the-counter drugs. Many dermatologists offer in-house therapies and treatments, including laser therapy to lighten and remove tattoos, or chemical peels to reduce the look and depth of scars and wrinkles. Dermatologists may also perform surgical procedures, such as biopsies, cryotherapy, vein therapy, and topical chemotherapy. Dermatologists also remove warts, skin tags, and various other unhealthy areas of the skin.

When Does a Dermatologist Breach the Patient-Doctor Trust?

In most scenarios, dermatologists listen to their patients, examine them fully, and recommend solutions and treatments based on their experience and knowledge. The suggestions are meant to preserve the patient’s current and future health. For example, a dermatologist may remove a suspicious growth in order to reduce the risk of future skin cancer.

Patients know that their dermatologists are supposed to give them the most reliable diagnoses possible with the information that they have. Therefore, patients may go ahead with cosmetic or non-cosmetic proposal, even if they are reluctant. Patients also have expectations that their dermatologists will keep their personal data private and will keep their offices and clinics sanitized and up-to-date.

A medical malpractice breach can occur if the dermatologist fails to execute the doctor-patient relationship as expected, thereby committing an act of negligence. For example, a dermatologist who does not adequately take steps to prevent infection in the area of a newly excised mole may be breaching the duty of care that is owed to the patient.

How Can a Patient Know if Medical Malpractice Occurred?

Patients are sometimes hesitant to accuse their dermatologists or other physicians of medical malpractice. However, a patient has a right to be their own advocate. This means that if they feel that they have not received the quality of care that they should, they may want to contact an attorney.

It is important to understand that medical malpractice does not mean the dermatologist was rude or gave a suggestion that the patient did not like. Malpractice involves actively making suggestions or undertaking actions that hurt patients. A good example would be a dermatologist whose license to practice medicine had run out but who continued to see patients, and those patients were temporarily or permanently injured.

Dermatological patients can be gravely harmed by the negligence of their doctors. A dermatologist who does not properly stage or remove a cancerous mole may put a patient at risk of having the cancer metastasize in other places in the body. Many of the more egregious displays of dermatology malpractice involve people who have been improperly diagnosed with cancer and later succumbed to the disease.

What are the Medical Malpractice Laws in Illinois?

Anyone who wants to pursue a medical malpractice case in Illinois should be aware of state laws and regulations. One major consideration is the state’s two-year statute of limitations. Illinois puts a two-year cap on the ability for a patient to present a claim of medical malpractice to a court. The two-year period begins when the patients realizes the malpractice has occurred, which is often unclear. A patient who wants to avoid submitting a claim of negligence should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.

If the patient was a minor at the time of the alleged malpractice, the minor’s right to file a claim is extended to eight years beyond the suspected malpractice incident. However, the minor cannot file after the minor reaches 22 years old. Eight years may seem like a long time, but some malpractice can take years to identify. Hiring a lawyer quickly can help prevent missing the statute of limitations.

Patients who win malpractice lawsuit claims in Illinois are not bound by any cap on their economic or non-economic damages. They can receive as much compensation as a court deems fair, given the parameters of the case.

How Hard is it to Prove a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Proving any kind of medical malpractice claim in a court involves extensive investigation and documentation. For this reason, patients who believe they may have experienced medical malpractice typically work with lawyers. The law is always changing, and a knowledgeable legal professional can counsel a patient who suspects any medical malpractice.

It is essential to show a court that a dermatologist committed a breach of duty of care that caused an injury or illness. Therefore, any malpractice case will likely involve legally obtaining health care records and depositions from experts, including health care professionals. This can be an involved process and take quite a bit of time. A trusted lawyer will have the knowledge and expertise to be able to handle the process of constructing a case against a negligent dermatologist. A medical malpractice case may reach a settlement; however, some cases do go to trial. If a case does go to court, having a lawyer is vital.

Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Represent Hurt and Sick Dermatological Patients

Any form of medical malpractice should be investigated. If you are injured or ill because of medical malpractice, our Illinois medical malpractice lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC can help. Our lawyers have represented numerous medical malpractice victims. Complete our online form or call us at 618-277-3644 for a free consultation today. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.