What are the 4 Ds of medical negligence?

What are the 4 D's of medical negligence | HealthSoul

Knowing that you need surgery or even ongoing medical treatment can be very stressful. Medical mistakes are a leading cause of death in the United States, and in many cases, it may be just as dangerous to have surgery as it would be not to.

Medical negligence occurs when a doctor fails to perform their duties in a competent manner. In some cases, the negligence might be the fault of the hospital or medical center where is surgery takes place. In other cases, it will be the fault of the doctor or their immediate staff.

If you have been injured due to medical negligence or if you have lost a loved one due to a doctor’s mistake, you have probably considered a lawsuit. The state of California has some legal definitions you should be aware of if you are considering filing a medical negligence suit. Before you talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney, you should know the 4 Ds of medical negligence.

Duty of Care

All medical doctors have what is known as a duty of care to their patients. In order for a duty of care to be legal and relevant, the doctor must have a relationship with the patient. A doctor standing in line at the drugstore does not have a duty of care to anyone who happens to have a heart attack while they are in the same store.

When a doctor is treating a patient, they must treat the patient with the skill of a proficient physician. Defining what reasonable proficiency is may be difficult in a courtroom.


When a doctor fails to perform their duties correctly, it is considered dereliction of duty. If they did not do everything they could to ensure the patient was treated with the care expected of a competent physician under similar conditions, they will be considered derelict in their duties. They may also be responsible for any staff members who were directly under their supervision.


In order for a medical malpractice suit to be successful, a person must establish that they have suffered damages because of the doctor’s negligence. You will want to save records of medical appointments that you have had to go to because of your injuries. You should also save the bills from any emergency room visits and the receipts from any medications that you have had to take.

Direct Cause

You must be able to prove that the physician was directly responsible for your injuries. Their attorneys are likely to try and prove that you had pre-existing conditions that led to your medical problems. If a doctor operated on the wrong organ or left a sponge in you, this should be fairly easy to prove. If they use in a rare surgical technique, negligence may be more difficult to establish.

Finding a Lawyer

The Medical Malpractice Attorney you hire should have years of experience with personal injury law in California. They should also have an excellent reputation with the State Bar Association.

Most people are told to trust doctors all their lives, and getting injured by a physician can be very traumatic. Suing an incompetent doctor for medical negligence can restore your confidence and will help other patients to avoid that trauma in the future.