Medical malpractice may occur when your doctor fails to provide you the appropriate treatment or fail to make the correct decision based on standards, or if they give you substandard medical treatment which may cause death, harm, or injury. Medical malpractice regulations and standards vary in countries and states.
Your medical practitioner is expected to adhere to the medical standards that regulate medical practice in your country or state. However, a medical professional isn’t entirely responsible for every harm that a patient may suffer, but only liable in situations where they neglect quality care.
Common medical errors that your doctor may commit include: improper or delayed diagnosis, anesthesia errors, delayed treatment, failed follow-up after treatment, dosage errors, not acting on test results, premature discharge, surgical mistakes, and unnecessary surgery, among others.
The moment you suspect there’s medical malpractice, you may take the following actions:
Find Another Doctor
Your health should be your priority. When you realize that a medical professional has made a mistake when treating or diagnosing you, you may consider seeking another doctor to correct the error. This second doctor may request your records to do new tests and diagnoses. They’ll also prescribe a new treatment plan to correct the damage that your first doctor did.
Your new doctor will focus on the complications that occurred as a result of the previous error. In case your first doctor misdiagnosed you, the second doctor will focus on treating you after making the correct diagnosis.
Request For Medical Records
In case you want to pursue a court case, medical records should be the first thing you ask for. Your medical records will have all the details of the symptoms you had when you first consulted with them, the results of tests performed, and the medications you’re given. This information is critical since it’ll serve as proof if your doctor indeed committed medical malpractice.
For instance, you’re brought to the emergency section with severe chest pain. Then, your medical history shows that in your family, there is a history of heart conditions but the doctor failed to do tests to determine if you’re having a heart attack. You’re then treated for anxiety but later it’s discovered that you suffered from a heart attack.
In such a case, the medical records will prove that the medical doctor was negligent for failing to review your medical history and gave a wrong diagnosis. You should get this information before filing any lawsuit, because your doctor may try to change the information. There are cases where doctors alter the information to avoid being liable.
Keep A Journal
If you become a victim of medical malpractice, start a journal where you can record your health details. Write down a description of the symptoms you might have developed as a result of the medical error. Ensure that you also note down how the mistake has affected your life in general. For example, you might have been forced to stop going to work just to seek further medical treatment. Write this in your journal.
Update your journal daily so that all your new symptoms and their consequences are well documented. The details that you write in your journal may be helpful in the court case. Therefore, ensure that your journal is as detailed as possible.
Contact A Lawyer
If you’ve resolved to seek justice through a court case, it’s advisable to get an experienced lawyer. Medical malpractice cases are known to be complex. A personal injury lawyer may be the most suitable for your case. Meet your lawyer one-on-one before you sign the contract. Give all the documentation details to your medical malpractice lawyer. This should include all medical records and journals. Your new doctor will also rely on this information to do their research concerning the medical error. In case your lawyer requires more information, be willing to cooperate.
Don’t Contact Other Parties
Limit your contacts to your lawyer and your new doctor during your court case. Keep away from any communication with the previous medical facility. Don’t post information on social media concerning your case even if your account is private.
In case the insurance company of the defendant tries to reach out to you, avoid any conversation with them, instead, instruct them to talk to your lawyer. The insurance adjuster may try to tweak your words to use them against you in court. So, don’t give out any information.
If you are convinced that you’ve suffered medical malpractice, you’ll need to follow the steps above to seek justice from a court of law. With the help of your lawyer, you can ensure that your case is water-tight enough for you to get compensation from your claim. A report by Forbes indicates that medical malpractice lawsuits are decreasing while the compensation amount is steadily rising. This may be because medical doctors are now keener in their profession to avoid committing medical malpractice. The heavy penalties may be difficult to bear for a doctor, thus the need for alertness.