If you’ve recently received medical treatment at a medical facility, only to leave feeling a little worse for wear, then something may have been done to exacerbate your problem. As a society, we are taught to believe that doctors and any medical professional are sacrosanct and completely above reproach. While doctors by and far do remain true to their Hippocratic Oath, and of course, are one of the essential pillars of our communities, that does not mean that medical malpractice is a paranoid fantasy. Unfortunately, it does happen, and not intentionally: sometimes, the medical facility itself may be dilapidated due to neglect or lack of finances, putting the patient’s life in danger. If you think you or someone you know may have been a victim of medical malpractice, then read on for more information to help you figure out if this is indeed the case.
Follow Your Instinct
In the beginning, there won’t necessarily be a clear-cut sign that something terrible has happened. You or your loved one may just feel bad, perhaps a bit sick. But if you ask the medical professionals at the facility, they will immediately push back. No one will want to admit that perhaps something went amiss in the surgery or procedure, so there will be significant – if subtle – pushback. In this case, it’s important to follow your instinct, and begin documenting any symptoms you may be experiencing extensively. You may need these notes later on.
Get a Second Opinion
If the symptoms you or your loved one are experiencing are not abating, then you should seek medical attention immediately. Catherine Bertram from Bertram Law Group says it is advisable to get a second opinion, but perhaps you shouldn’t go back to the physician that may have set all of this in motion. Seek medical attention from another physician and try to get in-depth documentation of what is going on. This will help confirm whether your instincts are correct in that perhaps something has gone amiss, and that you did not receive the level of medical care you deserve. However, be sure to check-in with legal representation to better understand your situation.
Determining Negligence or Discrimination
Sometimes, you’ll go to a doctor for something like a chronic headache that hasn’t gone away in a few days. You have a feeling this isn’t normal, and you’d be right: you would know your body better than anyone else. However, it’s fairly common to go to a physician and have them be incredibly dismissive of your concerns. Instead of diagnosing you with a bout of meningitis early on, they will simply tell you to take more aspirin for your headache, and send you home. They may even decide not to undertake the most routine of check-ups, due to simple negligence. Or, it could be discrimination. Individuals who are overweight, or people of color, report discrimination from their physicians more than any other group. They are often told to simply lose weight regardless of their symptoms – and, in the worst cases, doctors may not even pay attention to the patient’s needs, giving them the most perfunctory of advice before sending them off. A few days later, the patient is hospitalized with very grave symptoms, maybe even on the verge of death. This would be a clear case of medical malpractice. Hopefully, this is all documented at length, and the patient will be able to present the evidence to their lawyer.
A Hospital with Poor Facilities
Another, a less nefarious yet common occurrence is receiving treatment at a facility that is dangerously understaffed. Hospitals can have high turnover rates, and an exhausted team of healthcare providers can make mistakes, such as serving a patient the wrong kind of medication. If you feel that this may have happened to your or your loved one, then this is a clear instance of medical malpractice.
Filing a Case
If you decide to put together a case, then you definitely need the help of a lawyer. Medical malpractice claims – even if they seem fairly clear-cut – are difficult to prosecute, especially without the proper legal assistance. Your lawyer will help compile the necessary evidence and will build the right team for your case. At some point, a medical expert has to be involved as part of the legal team, so that your lawyer is able to determine that the case is in fact medical malpractice. This is especially helpful if the case ends up going to trial since the judge and jury will only be swayed by concrete evidence.
Given the kind of trust we place in the medical establishment, being subjected to a case of medical malpractice can feel like a deep violation. Rest assured that you can and should fight for your rights. With the right legal counsel, justice will be served, and you may even prevent others from getting hurt by shining light on a negligent physician or hospital.