A recent win on behalf of clients who suffered as a result of medical malpractice makes me want to share helpful information. Medical malpractice is when a doctor or other medical provider is negligent in the care of a patient. Courts define negligence as the patient not receiving a recognized ‘standard of care’ for a condition. Results of negligence range from lack of expected outcome even to death. The following do’s and don’ts provide guidelines when dealing with medical conditions – to prevent or prepare a case as a victim of medical malpractice, and to recognize if your healthcare provider is negligent.
What TO DO when managing health conditions:
- Stay on track with treating your condition so that it doesn’t get worse. Write down your list of symptoms, do your own research, and make a list of questions to ask your medical provider.
- Ask a family member or friend to go with you to important doctor or health care appointments. It’s another set of ears to hear—and possibly to testify on your behalf.
- Keep excellent records of all medical care.
- Pay attention to your ‘gut feeling’ about what is going on with your condition and treatment.
- Ask to understand test results. If outcomes are abnormal, pursue the interpretation and options for treatment.
- Get a second opinion to support or negate treatments for health conditions. Be sure that you feel comfortable with both the doctor and the recommendations he or she suggests.
- Consider an attorney as your advocate for navigating complex insurance and legal issues.
If you think you have been harmed in the course of medical treatment:
- Don’t think that just because your outcome is not as you desired that you have a case. The key word for malpractice is ‘negligence’ that causes injury or damages to a patient.
- Don’t feel like you need to settle with an insurance company quickly or directly if a doctor admits making a mistake.
- Don’t be intimidated about what the doctor or other people will think if you pursue a medical malpractice claim.
It’s not ok for healthcare providers to make mistakes that cause serious harm. The harm often comes from a provider’s complacency or mental condition that lead to neglect of effective patient treatment. Be determined to get the best care possible for your current condition and future quality of life. If you have doubts about your treatment or results, talk with a patient advocate regarding the proper standard of care for your health condition.