Disclaimer: the material presented in the article below should only be considered as a general overview regarding what to do in a medical malpractice case. Should you, or anyone you know, find yourself as a victim of medical malpractice, it’s best that you speak to a medical malpractice attorney who’s well-versed. He/she can help you decide on the best legal actions to take.
Medical malpractice happens when your doctor, hospital, and other healthcare professionals’ actions are below the accepted standard of medical practice. Their treatments, prognosis, diagnosis, and procedures caused you or someone close to you to get sick or injured, or result in your health to deteriorate—even to the point of death. And finding yourself in a situation where people you’ve trusted cause you physical, emotional, and mental pain can be scary and stressful. Whether you’re planning to file a lawsuit against them or not, you should know what to consider if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice.
Signs that You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice
There are indications that you’d need to check to determine if you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice.
- Your healthcare provider ordered a different test.
Tests are there to help your diagnoses. However, if you got worse instead of getting better because you’ve been given different tests from the standard tests, you may have been a victim of inadequate care.
- Your diagnosis is delayed.
If your healthcare providers take too long to come up with a diagnosis of your condition, and your health state turned for the worse, you might be considered as a malpractice victim.
- You’re not given additional tests.
Mistakes can happen, even during medical tests. This is why your healthcare providers should provide you other tests to confirm your condition. If they can’t offer you other tests to determine a diagnosis, this can be called medical malpractice.
- You have not gotten better.
If you’re still struggling or not recovering even after your treatment, this could be a sign that something went wrong. If you feel like you’re not improving, or you’re only getting worse, there might have been an oversight on your healthcare providers’ side.
- Your healthcare providers are not following up.
Healthcare providers are responsible for checking up on you after your diagnosis and after you undergo a major medical procedure, essentially all throughout your treatment. They should be concerned with your recovery. If they’re not doing this, then this could be an indication of medical malpractice.
What You Should Consider If You’re A Victim Of Medical Malpractice
After you’ve confirmed that you’re a victim of medical malpractice, you should take the necessary steps so you can file for compensation or sue the people responsible for your predicament.
1.) Document as much as information as you can.
Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be stressful, and it can take years before it can go to trial. By the time that you’d need to answer questions regarding the case, your memory might have become foggy. It would be helpful if as soon as you can, you list down any information regarding your case.
Keep documents of:
- Names, contact numbers, and addresses of your healthcare providers
- Dates and times of your check-ups, tests, treatments, and surgeries
- Types of medical procedures you’ve gone through
- Medical bills
2.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get a second opinion.
If you’ve noticed that your treatment didn’t go as planned, you shouldn’t be intimidated to ask questions to medical professionals. Ask your doctors, nurses, and caregivers about your treatment. Try to understand what went wrong, why things are happening, and what they plan to do to make things right.
If they’re defensive and hesitant to answer your questions, you can go to another medical facility. Get a second opinion from another doctor, as you can seek one that won’t be biased and will be completely honest about your current predicament.
3.) Get a copy of your medical records.
You’re entitled to have a copy of your medical records—make sure that your medical facility will give you that. Most jurisdictions, medical institutions, and doctors are required to provide you with a copy of your medical records at reasonable fees. Fees for a copy of medical records can start around $2 t0 $55 for 15 pages to $15 to $585 for 500 pages.
If your healthcare providers are hesitant to give you a copy because of privacy laws, you should know that this is a common misconception.
4.) Don’t tip your healthcare providers off.
As much as you can, you shouldn’t let your healthcare providers know that you’re considering to file a lawsuit. They may work against you to prove that your claim is untrue.
5.) Hire a medical malpractice lawyer.
As soon as you can, you should hire a medical malpractice lawyer. Having a lawyer will ensure that you’ll be guided all throughout the process. He/she will be able to tell you exactly what to do.
Getting injured and being a victim of negligent medical treatment can be a traumatic experience. You may be weakened physically and mentally, which make things difficult for you to precisely assess your situation. However, as a victim, you shouldn’t let this get you down and weaken your spirit. You should learn how to fight not only for yourself but also for others who may be victims of medical malpractice as well.
Ashley Thompson is a promising young law writer. She hopes to apply her years of study into helping explain legal issues to the public. Ashley loves cooking and often cooks for her family during weekends.