Over 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year due to medical negligence, making it the third leading cause of death, ranking behind heart disease and cancer. Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional delivers substand care that injures or kills the patient. With the help of medical malpractice law, patients can win financial compensation for harms and losses caused by substandard treatment. In fact, around 15,000-19,000 medical malpractice suits are filed against doctors every year in the US, the Medical Malpractice Center reveals.
What exactly is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when the negligence of a healthcare provider results in patient injury or death. It’s important to note, however, that simply being unhappy with your medical care doesn’t necessarily mean you were subject to negligence. The malpractice must also have demonstrably resulted in considerable damage, such as, disability, ongoing pain, suffering, significant loss of income, and ensuring hardship. Otherwise, your treatment can’t be legally considered malpractice. Common examples of malpractice include: failure to diagnose or incorrect diagnosis, prescription mistakes, incorrect or unnecessary surgery, poor aftercare, and absence of informed consent.
What to do if you’ve experienced medical malpractice?
If you suspect you’ve experienced medical malpractice, getting in touch with board-certified medical malpractice lawyers can help determine whether you have a case. Lawyers will review all details of your case and gather evidence, including relevant medical records, which state your medical history, symptoms, tests, medication, and surgery to ascertain whether malpractice has occurred. They’ll also interview you as well as family members to help determine if your case is actionable. The deadline to file a lawsuit (along with specific procedural requirements) can vary in every state, which is why it’s beneficial to consult with lawyers licensed in the same state the negligence occurred in.
Protection from malpractice
Protecting yourself from medical malpractice revolves around taking a proactive attitude to your health and medical care. Keep a record of your symptoms and research your health condition, medication, and treatment, so you have a solid understanding of them. Also compile a list of questions to ask your doctor and make sure you receive comprehensive answers, which you understand. Be prepared to be your own advocate, ask questions when necessary, and speak up when you need to. Bringing a friend or relative along with you at your appointments can also be helpful in this regard. If you think something’s not right, always let your doctor know. There should be a balance between trusting your healthcare provider and listening to your own body, intuition, and common sense.
Although medical care is usually very good, malpractice is unfortunately a common occurrence that causes significant physical and emotional distress to patients. By taking a proactive approach to their own medical care, patients can better avoid negligence. And, in cases where malpractice does occur, medical malpractice law can fortunately help patients win financial compensation.