What are the 4 D’s?

If you or a loved one have been injured due to a medical mistake, you need to understand what the four D’s are. The four D’s refer to the four requirements that must be present in a medical malpractice case in order for a victim to receive compensation. The four D’s include duty, deviation from that duty, damages, and direct cause. Today, we are going to look into each of these. You and your medical malpractice attorney must establish all of these before you can file a lawsuit against a negligent medical professional.

Each year, approximately 250,000 people in the US die due to medical mistakes according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. This makes medical errors the third leading cause of death in the country.

1.    Duty – A healthcare provider’s duty of care

Patients must prove that they had a patient-healthcare provider relationship and that the healthcare provider owed them a duty of care. This is not usually hard to establish, as this relationship usually exists when treatment begins. Establishing a duty of care can include providing copies of medical records showing that the negligent provider was overseeing the victim’s treatment. Healthcare providers are required to follow protocols and exercise competence in their field.

2.    Deviation – Healthcare provider deviates from the expected standard of care

When caring for someone injured or ill, healthcare providers are held to a higher standard than those who do not have a license to practice. When a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care, and someone is injured, they could be held accountable. Standard of care deviation can include:

  • Surgical mistakes
  • Giving the wrong medication or wrong dosage of a medication
  • Prescribing a medication that has a dangerous interaction
  • Misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnosis
  • Healthcare-acquired infections
  • Failure to treat
  • Performing unnecessary procedures
  • Birth injuries
  • And more

Standard of care can be established by analyzing what a healthcare provider with the same training would do in a similar situation.

3.    Damages – The deviation caused harm

Someone injured due to a medical mistake must prove that the healthcare provider’s deviation from the standard of care caused damages. Damages can include both physical injuries as well as mental, emotional, and financial damages.

There must be a preponderance of evidence to prove damages. This can include medical records, prescription records, statements from medical experts in the field, the cost of corrective treatment, and more.

4.    Direct Cause – The deviation was the direct cause of the damages

The evidence must show that the healthcare provider’s deviation from the standard of care was the direct cause of the injuries. For example, if a broken leg does not heal properly because the doctor did not apply the case correctly according to industry standards, the patient could show a direct link to the healthcare provider.

On the other hand, if a patient is performing tasks after breaking their leg that they are not supposed to perform and this caused them to injure their leg further, then the doctor is not the direct cause of the injury. This would be the patient’s fault for not following the treatment protocol.

If you are injured

If you of a loved one are injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, please seek legal assistance. A qualified and experienced Portland medical malpractice attorney will be able to help establish the 4 D’s and work towards securing the compensation you are entitled to.