Even in this modern day and age, where technological developments are facilitating advanced medicinal practices, malpractice is a common occurrence. Recent statistics show that an estimated 250,000 people lose their lives each year due to various medical errors. Moreover, roughly 15,000 to 18,000 medical malpractice suits are filed every year to penalize individuals and organizations making such errors.
Nearly 33% of all medical malpractice claims filed in the U.S. involve misdiagnosis errors. An estimated 4,000 surgical mistakes occur each year in the country, and 21% of all patients report having experienced some kind of minor or major medical error at the hands of a physician. These numbers highlight more than anything that there are high chances of medical malpractice occurring.
That being said, if you have been a victim of such an error, here’s how you can handle the aftermath:
Table of Content
1. Consult with a Community Health Advocate
Many people are unaware of the fact that community health advocates are professionals with the responsibility to take action on behalf of people in a community that are vulnerable. Patients who have faced medical malpractice can also consult these individuals and devise a plan for how to move forward with their healing as well as the remediation process.
Professionals in community health advocate roles can address various obstacles that you may be facing as a patient and can also assist you in getting referrals or other facilities like mental health services and safe housing etc. These individuals are influential in helping you cope with numerous medical malpractice issues effectively.
2. Make sure you Continue Holding on to all the Medical Records
Keep all of your records, especially those that pertain to your care, after suffering an accident. This can make it challenging for medical providers to demonstrate that you did not experience a loss due to their negligence. Furthermore, you can prove to your insurance provider or obtain other documentation that you suffered injuries by keeping your medical records. By keeping the relevant medical records, you can strengthen your claim in a medical negligence case.
3. Consult a Professional Malpractice Attorney
Once you are sure of the fact that the problems you are facing are due to lack of or negligent care, it becomes crucial that you sit down with an experienced lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. Many people shy away from filing a malpractice lawsuit because of the costs and hassles involved. However, it pays to consult with an attorney and a community health advocate to determine if you have a strong case or not.
The medical facility treating you can be and should be held liable for any conscious errors they made because it is their duty to be diligent in the care they provide.
A medical malpractice attorney can help you in the following ways:
- They can help you ascertain the credibility and viability of your claim by utilizing their resources to get access to data that a patient won’t be able to get on their own,
- A professional lawyer with a proven track record can analyze scans, reports, and other important documents relevant to the case. They can find where the error occurred and present it to the court in a way that the judge and jury can understand,
- A lawyer can help you decide the best and most feasible course of action in the case to hold the physician, nurse, or medical institution responsible for malpractice,
- They can also advise you on what to expect and the kind of damages you can get depending on the side effects you are experiencing as a result of the malpractice.
4. Report the Incident to all Relevant Authorities
Reporting the occurrence is a crucial action you can take after experiencing medical negligence. You may believe that no one will pay attention to your claim amid a significant number of cases and may shy away from reporting them.
However, despite what you may be feeling, it is vital that you file a report with every relevant authority so that no one else suffers what you’ve endured.
- Start by filing a complaint with the respective State Licensing Board against the facility or professional that was the primary source of negligence in your case.
- Depending on where you live, you can also involve the attorney general in your report. Be sure to check with your attorney and community health advocate if this applies to your case.
- Look up the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Medical Association of America, both of which are organizations with specialized interests and resources to look after patient well-being in the country.
- Consult with the relevant professionals about which other bodies you can reach out to in case you want to file a complaint.
5. Look After Yourself
The repercussions of medical malpractice can vary depending on the extent to which damage has been caused. Considering legal action and reporting to the relevant authorities is imperative, but you need to give your health a top priority. Here are certain steps you should absolutely take to care for yourself or the loved one who suffered a medical error:
- Follow up with a reliable professional: Do this at your earliest because the slightest delay can result in serious repercussions. Make an emergency appointment with a reliable professional in the field and begin the relevant treatment with them.
- Keep track of your health: Regularly monitor vital conditions to ensure that you are not going to suffer from any serious health issues. In case you feel anything may be going wrong, rush yourself or the patient to the nearest hospital.
- Seek helpful advice from professionals: Look for reliable professionals in your circle, including medical professionals and even mental health counselors. They will be able to offer the appropriate course of action in reversing the effects of the medical malpractice and relieving you of any trauma associated with the injuries.
Suffering from medical malpractice is unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean the end of the world. It is important to be aware beforehand of the things to do in the event that a medical error occurs because only with adequate preparation can you cope with the impacts that the malpractice may have. Remember, seeking help, both medical and legal is crucial to help you cope with what you’ve endured, so do not hesitate to reach out to the professionals.