Billions of dollars are spent each year on medical malpractice payouts and medical malpractice cases are common occurrences. Yet, it’s not often discussed. Nobody wants to be a victim of medical negligence. But if you are, here are 7 things that you should know about malpractice.
1. The Definition of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is defined as your health-care provider straying from the standard of care. That deviation results in damage, injury or death. In many cases, there was some error made by the provider. Their malpractice could have been caused by a misdiagnosis or an incorrect dose of medicine. It could be from any other mistake made during treatment. In many cases, your healthcare provider may have been guilty of medical negligence. Negligence happens when they take no action when something could and should have been done.
The important thing to note about malpractice is that you are not at fault. You’re not responsible for giving your coming up with the correct diagnosis or treatment, but your doctor is.
2. Malpractice Is One of the Major Causes of Death in the US
Recent research shows that medical errors cause about 251,000 deaths every year. That number is greater than the number of accidents, strokes, and respiratory deaths each year. It’s considered the third leading cause of death in the US. It only ranks under cancer and heart disease.
The shocking thing about these statistics is that it’s preventable with quality medical treatment. Unlike accidents or illness, a healthcare provider is to blame for these deaths and injuries. And sadly, there are many people who are unaware of the prevalence of malpractice, and so they don’t suspect it or seek a medical malpractice lawyer.
3. How to Avoid Medical Malpractice
There are some ways you can prevent malpractice. For one, you can be more involved in your healthcare. Research your condition and keep a detailed account of your symptoms in a journal. You should go into your appointments having some questions ready. And you should voice any of those questions or concerns without hesitation. Although many people are reluctant to ask a physician questions, don’t be. Your doctor is there to answer your questions. Another great way to prevent medical negligence is to bring a relative with you to your appointment. Having someone else at your appointment can ensure that you don’t forget to ask any important questions. It can also keep you from being dismissed by your healthcare provider.
4. Common Procedures That Result in Negligence
Although medical negligence comes in many forms, there are some occurrences that make it more common than others. Most often, medical malpractice cases arise when you have an irregular test, and the results are incorrectly interpreted. Sometimes, a major health issue is ignored because your healthcare provider misinterprets the results of a test and doesn’t see the problem.
5. How to Tell If You Were a Victim of Malpractice
It’s one thing to understand the definition of malpractice and another to know if it happened to you. One question to ask yourself is this: Did a physician act negligently and did his or her behavior cause injury or damage to you? It is important to note that medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove. Only working with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer and having good documentation gives your case a chance.
6. The Reasons Medical Malpractice Cases Might Be Pursued
Not everyone who has suffered from malpractice takes action. There are a few reasons for this. One patient might be concerned that other physicians won’t want to treat them. They worry that once word gets out that they were involved in a malpractice suit, no one will be willing to get involved. In a similar vein, another might worry that their health care costs will increase. And finally, another patient could believe that the cost of litigation is too much for them.
Another major setback is the statute of limitations. You might take too long deciding to go through with litigation; there is a statute of limitations. Every state has a different timeline for filing a malpractice lawsuit, so waiting too long to take action can mean that you can no longer take it to court.
7. What Steps to Take If You See Medical Negligence
The first step you should take if you are concerned that you were a victim of negligence is to find a medical malpractice lawyer. An experienced lawyer can tell you what steps you should or shouldn’t take. There are a lot of things that need to be done, but you should only do it under the guidance of a lawyer. One small misstep could destroy your case. Things that might be done include getting medical records that are relevant to the case, interviewing friends and family, and reviewing any other documentation you might have.
Medical malpractice is not something to be taken lightly. If you suspect it, find a good medical malpractice lawyer to handle your case and to get justice.