We trust doctors and medical professionals to provide us with prompt, proper care that will improve our quality of life. However, in some cases, a doctor’s mistake or improper conduct can put a person’s life at risk or even lead to a tragic loss of life. In this article, we discuss some of the common warning signs of medical malpractice so you can identify if you or a loved one have been a victim of improper care.
Failure to Diagnose
One of the most common types of medical malpractice is a failure to diagnose a person’s symptoms or illness correctly. If a patient does not receive an accurate diagnosis and start getting treatment for their medical condition, it may be more difficult or impossible to treat them in the future. Especially when a person has an aggressive disease such as cancer or a life-threatening event like a heart attack, time is of the essence when it comes to diagnosing and treating the medical emergency.
In some cases, a doctor may not entirely miss the presence of a disease or medical condition, but they may incorrectly diagnose it as something entirely different. A misdiagnosis can be just as dangerous as a late diagnosis. If a person is being treated for the wrong medical condition, it is likely that the treatment will have no positive effect. In fact, improper treatment may even worsen a patient’s condition. For example, a person may be prescribed medications that clash with one another or may receive invasive treatments for a disease they don’t have.
When someone receives a medical diagnosis, they should always confirm that their symptoms seem to match the diagnosis given. If questions arise after a diagnosis, it may be wise to seek a second medical opinion. Another doctor may revise the original diagnosis or create an entirely new one that more closely matches what a person is experiencing.
Serious complications can arise if you are accidentally given the wrong dosage or the incorrect medication altogether. If a new medication interacts with a patient’s existing medications or health conditions, an overdose or even death could occur. It is a doctor’s responsibility to check that a prescription will adequately treat a patient’s condition without causing preventable harm. If a medication error does occur, the patient may be the victim of a serious case of medical malpractice.
What if a Loved One Dies During a Medical Procedure?
Many medical procedures unfortunately have a risk of adverse outcomes, which can include anything from hospital infection to death in the most extreme cases. Even when a patient does not survive surgery or treatment, that does not mean that the doctor or hospital staff were negligent. If the medical practitioners upheld the accepted standard of care and did everything possible to secure a positive outcome for their patients, the accident may have been impossible to avoid.
However, in some cases, a medical expert’s error may have caused a wrongful death. Perhaps a surgeon made an error that ended up causing a significant amount of blood loss or an anesthesiologist failed to monitor their patient’s vital signs correctly during a procedure. In such a situation, it may be possible to hold the negligent provider accountable for the result of their actions or lack thereof.
What if a Doctor Admits to Making an Error?
One of the most telling signs that you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice is that the doctor flat-out admits that they made an error. If a medical expert admits to making an error that caused demonstrable harm to their patient, it is likely that they could be found liable for any harm caused in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
For this reason, many doctors and specialists are reluctant to admit fault, even when their actions have worsened a patient’s suffering or failed to adequately treat their underlying medical condition. Knowing some of the signs of medical malpractice will help a patient in this case, as they may be able to demonstrate that the provider’s error was what caused them harm. If you believe that you’ve been a victim of a medical malpractice, it’s essential to speak with a local attorney that is familiar with your state’s laws as soon as possible.
Steps to Follow if You Believe You’re a Victim of Medical Malpractice
If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to take action quickly. You should:
- Switch medical providers as soon as reasonably possible, so you can receive proper treatment
- Keep a journal of harm suffered, treatments received, and any actions taken by your doctor that you feel may constitute malpractice
- Obtain a copy of your medical reports
- Seek medical attention as needed from a new doctor or care facility
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible, so your case does not get thrown out due to your state’s timeline for medical malpractice cases
We hope this article helps you or your loved ones recognize common warning signs of medical malpractice and secure proper treatment moving forwards.