Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cancer and heart disease, resulting in over 250,000 deaths every year, US News reports.
Medical malpractice is defined as professional negligence and substandard treatment by a healthcare worker that causes patient injury or death. Although experiencing malpractice can be emotionally and physically draining for patients, medical malpractice law or a lawyer can help provide financial compensation for any harm caused.
What exactly is medical malpractice?
By law, healthcare workers are required to uphold strict standards of patient treatment and care. If they, for whatever reason, fail in upholding these standards, they may be liable for medical negligence.
Incidents of medical malpractice typically fall into different categories such as – failure to diagnose or late or incorrect diagnosis, incorrect or unnecessary surgery, items left in the body after surgery, prescription errors, substandard aftercare, or premature discharge.
It’s important to note a case can only be referred to as malpractice if injury or deaths are a direct result. Just because a patient is unsatisfied with their treatment doesn’t necessarily mean malpractice happened.
Next steps after medical practice.
If you’ve experienced medical malpractice, it’s important to first get copies of your medical records as soon as possible. Your records note your medical history, tests received, symptoms experienced, and medications — which can all help prove malpractice has occurred.
When it comes to medical malpractice cases, they’re rarely straightforward, so it’s important to consult a board-certified lawyer who specializes in this area. You should provide your attorney with all details and documentation surrounding your case, particularly your medical record, so they can begin investigating and gathering evidence. From here, you’re left to focus on rest and recovery while your lawyer takes care of the legal side.
Protecting yourself from negligence.
The best way to avoid medical malpractice is to take charge of your health and medical care. In turn, you’ll be better at noticing, highlighting, and avoiding any errors potentially made by your doctor. Make sure you have a good understanding of your medical condition, along with recommended medication or treatments and the specific risks and benefits of each. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for clarification when you need it. It’s never a bad idea to get a second opinion. In fact, trustworthy doctors encourage it.
It’s essential patients remain proactive about their own healthcare to minimize the risk of medical negligence.
If you do believe a healthcare professional has made an error while diagnosing or treating you, a malpractice attorney can help you pursue compensation.