Surgeries or any type of medical procedure are extremely crucial and nerve-wracking. The atmosphere of a hospital, the constant beeping of machines, people running around. Not a very peaceful scenario. Skilled and experienced doctors use their knowledge and expertise in these surgeries to save lives. But, hospitals are also a place where the chances of human errors are high. In fact, there is a term for it. “Medical Malpractice”. So what is it? And how do you as a patient, protect yourself from medical malpractice?
In true medical or “official” terms, Medical Malpractice is-
“Medical malpractice occurs when a health care professional or provider neglects to provide appropriate treatment, omits to take an appropriate action, or gives the substandard treatment that causes harm, injury, or death to a patient.”
Can This Happen To Me?
In cases of malpractice or neglect, a medical mistake is usually involved. This might be in terms of the diagnosis, dose, management of the patient’s health, therapy, or aftercare. Patients have the right to recompense for any damages brought on by inadequate care thanks to medical malpractice legislation.
There are between 15,000 and 19,000 medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors each year in the United States, according to the Medical Malpractice Center. States and nations may have different laws and norms governing medical misconduct.
According to a study by Keller&Keller, An estimated 225,000 individuals each year pass away as a result of medical negligence, including erroneous prescriptions, surgical mistakes, and inaccurate diagnoses. The third most frequent cause of death in the US is this.
And quite concerning, just 2% of patients who experience medical negligence ever seek compensation. Far fewer people ever get paid for their harm, deteriorating health, or suffering.
In Illinois, 8,151 reports of medical malpractice payments against doctors were filed between 1990 and 2003.
What is Considered Medical Malpractice?
In this scenario, it is important to differentiate between a medical complication and medical malpractice. If you want to protect yourself from medical malpractice, you first need to educate yourself.
The four components of malpractice are a professional responsibility due to the patient, a breach of that obligation, a resultant injury, and damages as a result.
- A violation of the standard of care
According to medical law, there are a few standards of care and guidelines every practicing doctor has to follow. These laws and regulations are the frameworks of an acceptable treatment procedure, and behavior.
Patients have the right to raise flags if the healthcare providers fail to provide the standards of care.
- An injury caused by negligence
The patient must demonstrate that they suffered harm in order for a medical malpractice claim to be valid. Negligence has to be the cause of this damage. The patient must provide evidence that carelessness resulted in harm.
- The injury resulted in significant damages
The patient must show that serious losses resulted from carelessness in order to establish a case. The patient’s damage must have led to disability, loss of income, extraordinary pain, suffering, or hardship, or considerable past or future medical costs in order to establish negligence.
How to Protect Yourself From Medical Malpractice
- Research On The Right Healthcare Provider
Make sure to conduct your homework and find a healthcare professional that has the necessary credentials and expertise. Think about things like the provider’s credentials, experience, expertise with your disease, and prior success.
- Discuss Allergies/Reactions Beforehand
To prove a lawsuit, the patient must demonstrate that significant damages happened as a result of negligence. To prove negligence, the patient’s injury must have resulted in disability, lost wages, severe suffering, hardship, or a significant increase in current or future medical expenses.
Medical mistake prevention depends on effective communication. Ask questions if you don’t understand something and be sure to explain your medical history, symptoms, and concerns to your healthcare practitioner.
- Record Every Detail Of Your Medical Journey
Taking notes provides a number of benefits. Whether meeting with a new provider or needing to remember the doctor’s orders, having a record of treatment plans and appointments helps preserve an accurate care history. In the event that one of your providers is the target of a prospective medical malpractice lawsuit, such data may also be helpful.
Talk to your doctor again about the therapies you’ve had. For instance, questions regarding test results may fall under this category. When you detect good or unfavorable changes in your condition, following up on your treatment can help your doctor provide you the best care possible.
Medical misconduct may result in drastic consequences that lower your quality of life. Stress and worry might also be brought on by the financial repercussions. One efficient technique to reduce the danger of malpractice is to advocate for your health in a proactive manner.
- Don’t Ignore Any Symptoms or Reactions
Nobody is more familiar with your body and how you feel than you are. Inform your doctor if anything appears off, no matter how insignificant. This might provide them with the information they need to address your disease in the best possible way. You raising questions is the right way to protect yourself from medical malpractice.
- Have A Witness/Partner With You
A companion can be helpful to you at a doctor’s appointment in a variety of ways. It not only gives emotional support, but it also makes sure that any important information is retained and appropriately communicated. Also, if you are unable to make medical decisions, having a companion might be very helpful. As a result, it would be a good idea to ask a friend or family to accompany you to your doctor’s visits.