Dealing with medical malpractice is terrifying. It can also leave you feeling like you’re completely alone. The following will explore a few key points that can help you navigate this chaotic time.
1. What Is Medical Malpractice?
Loosely, medical malpractice is a cause for legal action that results from a medical professional diverging from standard practice causing injury or death to a patient. This might involve negligence, omission, discrimination, or unusual behavior. Medical malpractice can produce errors in diagnosis and treatment plans.
Of course, like many legal concepts, medical malpractice can be difficult to prove in some instances. Interpretation of events and conversations can be a part of these cases, along with previous legal precedents. If you’re dealing with a medical malpractice case, it’s vital that you find some legal support.
2. It’s More Common Than You Think
It’s pretty easy to trick ourselves into thinking that living in the modern era means you’re safe from many of the problems ancient and medieval people had. It’s easy to look back on bloodletting, or the eras in which going to the doctor made you less likely to survive than dealing with your illness at home, but we’re not as far away from that as you might think.
The latest studies from Johns Hopkins University found that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in America. That works out to 10% of deaths. That’s right. 10% of Americans will die as a result of a medical error. Researchers are now advocating for better classification of medical errors on death certificates to help raise awareness of this and encourage funding and attention to the issue.
The term gaslighting has been used a lot lately, and this can sometimes lessen the intensity of the meaning of a word. When it comes to the medical industry, it’s very important to understand what gaslighting is as it can be part of medical malpractice cases. Gaslighting involves interacting with a person in such a way that they question their own thoughts, experiences, sense of reality, or memories.
Because there is a strong societal opinion of doctors and other medical professionals, it’s incredibly common to meet intense resistance and gaslighting when you share a negative experience. People are quick to say: well, the doctor is the professional; they’re the one educated about medicine; you must be wrong. It’s easy to believe this yourself, even if your gut is telling you something isn’t right.
4. Standard Of Care
One key component of proving medical malpractice involves proving that the medical professional deviated from the standard medical treatment within the profession. If, for instance, there are questions a doctor usually asks before prescribing a certain medication, and those questions are not asked, this could constitute a breach of the standard of care.
5. Injury Suffered By Patient
A second key component of a medical malpractice case is proving that there was an injury or harm suffered by the patient and that this produced significant damage. Things like permanent disabilities, suffering, abnormal pain, loss of income, hardship, or burdensome medical bills can all count as significant damage. It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer about the true cost of the malpractice you experienced as a legal professional can be quick to point out additional costs you’re not yet aware of. They’ve dealt with people in your position in the past and know how to better estimate the future costs of medical malpractice.
Misdiagnosis is a common type of medical malpractice. A missed or false diagnosis can result in a patient not getting the care or treatment they need. In many cases, this can reduce the chances a person has of surviving a particular illness. Because this is such a big category of medical malpractice, there are misdiagnosis lawyers who focus on this type of medical malpractice. Proving that a breach in the standard of care is responsible for the misdiagnosis can take a lot of evidence.
7. Mental Health
Experiencing medical malpractice—especially if you were someone who really trusted the medical system in the past—can do some damage to your mental health. If you’re struggling, reach out to someone you trust. Sometimes even a good conversation that ends with: you’re not crazy to feel that way can help. This is particularly important if you find yourself in need of medical treatment but are terrified or anxious about seeking medical help. It’s okay to explain your past experiences to a new doctor so that they’re aware of your nerves and what they can do to help ease them.
8. Background Searches For Medical Professionals
Moving forward, it’s helpful to know that there are ways to research a medical professional before you let them treat you. Physician Data Centers can verify a professional’s education and board certifications as well as any specialist exams they’ve taken. You can also look at your state’s medical licensing board to see if a license has been suspended at any point—this often means there was an actionable offense committed by the medical professional.
The above information should have clarified a few key elements of medical malpractice cases. Remember, it’s always okay to seek a second opinion.