Posted by | December 30, 2013 | No Comments

Causation means that the incorrect actions of the health care provider probably led to or contributed to the injuries and damages suffered. For example, if an emergency room doctor did not quickly examine a patient, it could be a life-or-death situation. However, if the patient would have died, regardless of anything a doctor might have done, then there would be no “causation,” even if the doctor delayed his examination. Another example of “no causation” would be a person who receives an incorrect prescription from the pharmacist and realizes the mistake before she takes the medicine. However, if the medicine were actually taken, and harm resulted, there is “causation.”

To prove a medical malpractice case, it must be probable that the incorrect treatment caused the harm. In this context, “probability” means that it is “more likely than not” that the treatment caused the harm. The plaintiff must prove that there was more than a 50% likelihood that the harm was caused by the negligence. For example, in a case involving the negligent failure to diagnose cancer, if there was less than a 50% chance that earlier diagnosis would have affected the outcome, there is only a “possibility” and not a probability. The law does not permit recovery of damages based on a “possibility.”

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