Johns Hopkins believes over 250,000 deaths in the U.S. are the result of medical errors. Some studies believe that number could be higher than 400,000. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact number as the cause of death listed on a death certificate rarely lists “medical error.” Only cancer (over 584,000 deaths) and heart (over 611,000 deaths) take more lives than medical malpractice.
When a medical error is made, it has a devastating effect on the patient, family members, and friends. If the patient succumbs to injuries caused by the medical error, family and friends are left asking questions and wondering how a professional could make such a tragic error. If you’re left with permanent health issues or disabilities due to a medical mistake, you could find your job, lifestyle, and relationships are all impacted.
If you suspect yourself or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, there are things you need to do. Don’t delay as there are statutes of limitations that prevent you from filing a lawsuit after a certain period of time has passed.
Talk to Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor about your situation. You may find that the doctor is able to help if it was an honest mistake. For example, if you were told your wrist isn’t broken but you’re certain it is, your doctor could look over your charts personally and see if the radiologist missed something. If it is determined that a mistake was made, the doctor may offer to refund any money you and your health insurance company spent. This may be a better solution than going to court with a medical malpractice case.
Many medical malpractice cases take month or years to resolve. It’s a lot of time to spend going to court hearings, waiting for answers, and talking to lawyers and other medical malpractice experts. This can add stress to your life that may not be in your best interest. If the doctor doesn’t respond as you would hope, you can still go to the medical licensing board first to see if you get a faster resolution. If that still doesn’t work, it’s time to look into filing a medical malpractice complaint with an attorney.
Keep Track of Conversations, Bills, and Test Results
Keep every piece of paperwork you can. When possible also try to get doctors to put things in writing. A medical malpractice case requires the plaintiff to prove there was wrongdoing on the medical professional’s part. The more paperwork you have showing what was done, what wasn’t done, and what you were told, the easier it is to prove mistakes were made.
Today, many medical offices are set up with patient areas where you can log-in and email questions to the doctor. Use this system. Your doctor may not always admit as much as you’d like via email, but every little piece of evidence you can get counts for something. Gather this paperwork and keep it in a safe place. You’ll need to show as much as you can to the attorney you hire.
Don’t Shy From Getting a Second, Third, or Fourth Opinion
If you are being treated and disagree with your medical professional or feel that something is off, be your own advocate. You don’t have to take the doctor’s word as being the final answer. You’re well within your rights to get other opinions. Go to another hospital, medical office, or specialist for another opinion. This is how some patients discover they’ve been evaluated incorrectly and that a medical error was made.
Check Reviews to Strengthen Your Case
Go online and see if anyone else has similar complaints about a doctor, nurse, or medical office. Some cases are stronger if there are multiple people who experienced the same error. You may not find anything, but it doesn’t hurt to see. If you do find others on social media or medical review sites with similar complaints, see if they’d be willing to talk to you about their experience.
Talk to a Medical Malpractice Attorney
It never hurts to ask an expert if your experience with a doctor, hospital, nurse, or another medical professional as medical negligence. Attorneys who specialize in medical negligence know the laws better than you do and will have plenty of advice to share. With their free consultations, you can ask the Denver medical malpractice attorneys Jordan, Herington & Rowley for advice and get straight answers. Speak with an attorney now for honest, helpful insight into your situation.