Medical malpractice is a serious issue. In fact, it’s the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. That’s right – medical errors are more likely to kill you than accidents or suicides. Medical malpractice can be a nightmare for those who have been injured and their families. This is why it’s so important to protect yourself from medical malpractice, no matter where you are or what kind of treatment you’re getting.
Here are some helpful tips on avoiding the dangers of medical malpractice and ensuring that your health care providers are doing everything right to keep you and your family safe.
Research Your Medical Care Provider
One of the best ways to protect yourself against medical malpractice is by doing adequate research. A good place to start is to check hospital rankings nationwide – specifically their mortality rates and patient safety records. You can also check out your doctor’s disciplinary record with his or her state licensing board, since some states publish this information online.
If you have a serious injury or illness, Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyer Gregg Hollander recommends speaking with other patients who have been through something similar to find out what their experiences were like at the hospital and doctor’s office. Most doctors are doing their best to prevent accidents from happening, but even the best ones can occasionally make medical mistakes. Do your homework before going into any treatments or surgeries that could end up costing you your life.
Keep Copies of All Your Medical Records and Appointments
Make sure to keep copies of all your medical records and doctor appointments. These include x-rays and doctor notes and information on the treatments you receive, as well as any prescriptions given and their dosages. Your medical history plays a big role in whether or not you’re able to pursue compensation. If you can’t provide proof of medical history, it may be difficult for the other party involved to resolve matters without any evidence.
Keeping copies of these records will ensure that if something goes wrong with a procedure or appointment, all documentation is readily available and there is no confusion about what happened. Having copies of your records will also make it easier to prove that you were injured during an incident, if necessary, since you can show proof.
Get a Second Opinion for Diagnosis or Treatments
If a doctor gives a diagnosis or treatment that you are not comfortable with, you should ask for a second opinion. There is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed about this. Doctors make mistakes sometimes, and it can be very beneficial to have another doctor give their diagnosis so that you know all of your options. Even if your physician seems competent and caring, they could still make mistakes that may lead to a medical malpractice claim.
For instance, in one case a OB/GYN failed to diagnose cervical cancer in one of his patients because he didn’t perform a pap smear within the recommended time frame. The patient later returned to him with pain and bleeding, but he still failed to diagnose cervical cancer until it had progressed too far. By that point, the woman was in stage IV of her illness and died soon after. Medical malpractice claims like this are very common because doctors don’t always take the time to diagnose correctly.
Arm Yourself With Knowledge About Medical Malpractice
The most important step you can take to protect yourself from medical malpractice is understanding the various symptoms, appropriate medications, possible dangerous drug combinations and side effects associated with your condition. This way, if you have a doctor who doesn’t explain things well or is simply incorrect about something related to your health and treatment decisions, it’s less likely that their mistakes will harm you.
Arming yourself with information, however basic, will also give you the confidence to stand up for yourself if your healthcare provider is unwilling or unable to explain things to your satisfaction. With some knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to tell if they are simply parroting information from a textbook or taking enough time and care with your specific situation.
Consult a Local Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you think you have a medical malpractice case, you should hire an attorney specializing in this field. A specialist will provide the best advice for your particular situation and help you figure out what next steps are necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice from a medical malpractice attorney, even if you are not sure whether or not your case is worth pursuing.