Doctors have the duty to treat patients equally, regardless of their gender, age, race or medical history. However, in practice, there will always be doctors who discriminate whether consciously or unconsciously. These types of discrimination can lead to some patients receiving a lower standard of care than others, and this could affect their prognosis or the outcome of their illness.
If you believe that you or a loved one has received unfair treatment from a medical professional and you believe that this has caused damages, whether financial, physical or emotional, it is important that you consider taking action to file a medical malpractice claim. The following is an overview of the different types of medical malpractice that can result from discrimination against a patient.
If a doctor is discriminatory toward a patient, they may dismiss their symptoms even if they point to a certain disease or condition. A doctor could be discriminatory or prejudiced by making the assumption that a patient is over-exaggerating, worrying for no reason, or simply not worth listening to because they are not in any risk group for disease. If this type of behavior leads to the patient suffering damages it would constitute medical malpractice.
Those who are overweight or of advanced age may be discriminated against by doctors, and their symptoms may not be taken seriously. An obese person complaining of breathlessness, for example, may be dismissed by an incompetent doctor because they assume that their symptom is connected with their weight. However, there could be a more serious underlying issue. Doctors who discriminate based on their perception of a patient are much more likely to falsely diagnose their patients and cause them prolonged pain and suffering.
If you believe that the way your doctor treated you led to unnecessary pain and suffering or a more severe diagnosis, you may be able to make a medical malpractice claim. Make sure that you understand how the law applies to you and take action when appropriate.