Unsafe and improper care from healthcare providers causes over 3 million deaths a year globally, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. These instances of unsafe and improper care may well be medical malpractice. So while it is more than likely that you will be in good hands at your next medical appointment, if you are actively looking out for your health, knowing a little about medical malpractice is crucial.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice, by the definition of the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys, is when a medical institution, a doctor, or any healthcare worker causes harm or death to a person under their care through negligent action or omission that falls under the regular standard of care they are expected to provide. Common examples of malpractice are misdiagnosis, unnecessary surgery, and premature discharge of patients. While these instances aren’t regular, they do happen more than they should.
Consequences Of Malpractice On Patients
One of the main elements in proving malpractice is to prove that there has been harm done to a patient, according to a study published on PubMed. Any experienced medical negligence law firm will argue that harm is proven and quantified through the life-changing consequences that patients now have to live with following the malpractice. Some of these take the form of debilitating and constant pain, loss of jobs, and lowered life expectancy. In some cases, medical malpractice has resulted in birth injury on newborns and traumatic births for expectant mothers. If you or your loved one undergoes medical malpractice, you may also experience overall declined health that will require you to seek further medical assistance in the coming years of your life. The cost of continued healthcare is also a consequence of malpractice that continues to be a burden on victims.
What Can You Do?
If you believe that you or your loved one may be a victim of medical malpractice, it is recommended that you seek legal aid after you switch doctors or hospitals. A lawyer will be able to guide you on what you need to do, such as obtaining a copy of all the pertinent medical records. It is imperative that you do not inadvertently inform your doctor or hospital that you intend to pursue legal action against them, as they may restrict your access to records, or could even intimidate you from seeking justice. It is also important to keep a journal that chronicles events after experiencing medical malpractice, along with any physical symptoms, so that your lawyer may see the strength of your case.
In the quest to safeguard your health, knowing about medical malpractice can help you understand your options in the unlikely event that things go wrong while you’re in medical care. While trusting one’s doctor is generally a good thing, every citizen should have a clear understanding of their rights to proper care, and what consequences must face those that violate their rights — especially in a medical setting.