One of the biggest worries that people have when visiting a doctor is becoming another medical malpractice statistic. Medical malpractice can happen in a number of ways, including when a medical provider or health care professional does the following:
- Does not provide a patient with the right treatment
- Does not take a particular, necessary action in the course of a patient’s treatment
- Provides substandard treatment that directly causes patient harm (including injury and death)
While medical malpractice isn’t as common as modern-day journalism makes it out to be, it’s definitely a risk you should know about to protect yourself and your family. Here are some facts you need to be made aware of when it comes to medical malpractice.
Malpractice Must Result in an Injury
While doctors can make mistakes during the course of treatment, for something to qualify as medical malpractice, it must result in an injury directly caused by the medical provider’s negligence. Furthermore, the injury must result in considerable damage. If these factors are not met, the neglect of your medical provider cannot legally be called medical malpractice, and you may not be able to build a case against your provider.
This essentially means that you cannot claim something is medical malpractice just because you are dissatisfied with the results of the treatment. This qualification serves as a way to protect doctors and hospitals from groundless lawsuits that not only cost them time and money but also make people less likely to enter the medical profession.
Malpractice Can Happen at Any Time
Malpractice can occur during any part of your treatment process and may occur when you seek help for any condition you may be suffering from. This must be brought to your attention because many people do not often consider certain issues, like a misdiagnosis that causes long-term harm, to be medical malpractice.
This is an especially important thing to keep in mind for patients in particularly vulnerable positions, such as expectant mothers. An inattentive doctor can cause different types of birth injuries to your newborn child while you are in labor or delivery stages, and these birth injuries may require significant (even lifelong) treatment and care. Some birth injuries can be caused due to negligence from your medical provider. These include:
- Brain injuries, including cerebral hemorrhage
- Brachial plexus injury – that is damage to the peripheral nerve that can restrict or prevent movement of the hand and arm
- Spinal cord damage
- Skull and bone fractures
- Cerebral palsy
- Intrauterine fetal demise, also known as a stillbirth
- Newborn jaundice
If you suspect your child has suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence, you must seek medical help as soon as possible. You should also consider having someone else around who can seek help on your behalf in the case of a difficult delivery process – this allows you to focus on recovery while ensuring that you get the restitution you deserve.
You Should Always Seek Help as Soon as Possible
As soon as you suspect that you or a dependent (such as a child) are the victims of medical malpractice, it’s time to take legal action.
Seeking professional help means that a lawyer will be able to determine whether or not your case qualifies as malpractice under your state’s laws. Additionally, keep in mind that different states have different statutes of limitations regarding how long you can take to bring a civil case against your medical provider. Getting a lawyer’s help as soon as you discover the negligence reduces the risk that you will no longer be eligible to seek legal restitution.
Be Proactive to Reduce the Risks of Falling Prey to Medical Neglect
While it is impossible to have the same amount of knowledge as your medical provider (unless you are a doctor yourself), being equipped with as much information as possible helps reduce the risk of you becoming a victim of medical neglect. Make a list of your symptoms, and if you already know your health condition, do the necessary research to understand it.
Additionally, don’t be afraid of advocating for yourself. Speak up, ask questions, and be ready to push back if you suspect that your medical provider is making a call that is not right for you and your body.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t listen to your doctor’s advice – however, you should also be ready to seek out a second opinion if needed. Furthermore, consider bringing a trusted friend or family member along with you to be your advocate if you feel it necessary.
Medical malpractice can seem like a terrifying possibility, but the fact remains, it’s not as common as you may think. Additionally, advocating for yourself helps reduce the risk of it happening to you.
If you feel that you have been on the receiving end of medical neglect, make sure to get legal assistance as soon as possible. There is a chance that you have the right to sue for damages to mitigate the harm inflicted on you.