What to do after a medical error?

It is every pet owner’s nightmare: a medical error from the vet. A veterinarian liability exists if such a defect can be proven. You can find out what this means and how you can behave in such a case here.

Even with the utmost care, there can be accidental medical errors at the vet - Shutterstock / La India Piaroa

Even with the utmost care, there can be accidental medical errors at the vet – Shutterstock / La India Piaroa

Veterinarians are people too, and unfortunately they can sometimes be wrong. But what are the criteria for medical malpractice and vet liability?

What counts as medical malpractice by the vet?

A treatment error or malpractice by the veterinarian is present if he has not followed the rules of veterinary art. Appropriate treatment of the pet is called “lege artis” in Latin and fortunately is the rule. But occasionally it can happen that a veterinarian makes mistakes in the meantime, for example by prescribing wrong or superfluous medication because he made a mistake in the diagnosis. Even an unnecessary operation can be considered a medical error if something happens to the animal.

In addition, there is also talk of treatment errors if the veterinarian worked with cannulas and instruments that were not hygienically clean and subsequently caused inflammation in the animal. In addition, the veterinarian is obliged to provide you, the pet owner, with sufficient information about the diagnosis, treatment and possible risks. If he fails to do this and your animal gets worse over the course of the treatment, this can also justify vet liability. In any case, if you suspect medical malpractice, contact a lawyer to review vet liability.

Working closely with the vet will help your pet get better - Shutterstock / Lucky Business

12/07/2015 – 5:46 p.m

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Vet Liability: What Does It Mean?

Once a veterinarian agrees to examine and treat your pet, a contract is formed between the two of you. This states that the vet will use all his skills and knowledge to make your pet feel better. Unfortunately, some ailments cannot be cured, but can be alleviated; therefore, a veterinarian cannot commit to the animal patient’s full recovery, but only to doing his best to at least stabilize or improve the state of health. Your side of the contract says you pay for the treatment – ​​the cost is based on what is known as the Veterinarian Fee Schedule (GOT).

In the context of veterinary liability, you can demand compensation in the event of a treatment error – it is best to discuss this with a lawyer. However, except in the case of very serious medical malpractice, you must show that the vet is at fault if the treatment did not produce the desired result. You may be able to ask the vet to make up for the mistake or pay for treatment at another vet.

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