by Allen Brown
Recent studies have reported that preventable medical errors are responsible for the deaths of approximately 200,000 patients in the U.S. every year. This number is frighteningly high and is one reason why many people are afraid of going to the hospital or receiving treatment. With the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic seeing enormous numbers of hospitalizations, choosing a reputable hospital and a good doctor can be a life-and-death decision.
Medical malpractice is the term used when medical error reaches a level in which you can be seriously harmed or even killed. It refers to practices by a doctor or other health provider which would not be deemed correct practice by other professionals in the field. While there can be serious consequences for medical professionals who are found to have committed medical malpractice, this may be little comfort for you if the effects of their mistake have a serious and lasting impact on your life.
In order to explain some of the steps that you can take to protect yourself, here is how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of medical malpractice.
1. Choose a Reputable Doctor or Healthcare Provider
There are different strategies and various sources of information that you can turn to to help you choose a qualified and reputable doctor or healthcare provider. Researchers have suggested that people who have good relationships with their physicians often have higher patient satisfaction rates and better overall health than people who do not. However, finding a good doctor that you can develop a good relationship with and trust with your health is challenging as information about doctors is not easy to find.
Get Reliable Recommendations
If you have a healthcare professional in your family or amongst your friends, you can ask them to refer to the best person they know for your particular needs. Getting a referral from someone in the healthcare industry will be more insightful and reliable than the information you may come across online. While recommendations from people you know who are not healthcare professionals can give you a good idea about the personality or amiability of a potential doctor or nurse, they will often not give you any real insight into their experience or ability. For healthcare where personality or bedside manner is important, however, such as a woman’s health provider or a pediatrician, these recommendations can be very useful.
Aside from recommendations, you should look for certifications when considering a potential doctor or healthcare provider to look after you or your family. Check that they have achieved a medical degree from a qualified and reputable medical school and make sure that they have no history of medical malpractice or other legal issues.
Get a Second Opinion Before Having Surgery or Treatment
Getting a second opinion from a doctor who is not your primary healthcare provider is done with the aim of either confirming or questioning your physician’s treatment plan or diagnosis. This can be extremely helpful if you recently received an overwhelming medical diagnosis, have a complex medical condition, face a high-risk treatment, or are simply seeking better peace of mind.
2. Hire a Lawyer if Something Goes Wrong
Most healthcare professionals are careful and responsible for patients’ wellbeing. However, healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses are human, and so there are bound to be some human errors as there are in every profession. As stated above, this natural ability to make mistakes does not necessarily cause an error, which rises to the level of medical malpractice. If you do experience a medical error, however, you should not underestimate the importance of having a professional lawyer to help judge whether it does rise to the level and to advise you with regard to your options.
What a Lawyer Does
As can be seen at https://www.lawyernc.com/defective-product-lawyer/hernia-mesh-lawsuit/, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will help to assess what happened and then help you to obtain all necessary medical records and other documents such as medical bills, insurance records, and written proof of your injuries or resulting illness. This will enable them to demonstrate how the medical malpractice affected you negatively. The legal system can be overwhelming at times, and medical malpractice cases are incredibly complex, and hard-fought as the hit to a doctor’s reputation can be tremendous. Therefore, having an experienced lawyer fighting for your rights will ensure that you will properly be compensated for your harm and losses.
3. Know About All Your Allergies
For every healthcare professional, allergies are among one of the most serious concerns. Serious medical errors can often occur if your allergies are not properly identified before a surgical procedure or even before an in-office minor treatment. Specifically, according to a study conducted by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory, approximately one out of every eight medical errors was caused by a completely preventable drug allergy.
How to Stay Safe with Allergies
Nowadays, most patients have to list every known allergy that they might have when being admitted into a hospital. For your own safety, it is important for you to know what you are allergic to and to make your healthcare professionals aware of anything to look out for in potential medication they might give you. Your list of known allergies will normally be shared between your doctor and every healthcare specialist who is involved in your treatment but just make sure to double-check each time you see a new person.
Common drug allergies that can cause an allergic reaction include antibiotics, sulfonamides, aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-seizure medications, chemotherapy medications, and monoclonal antibody therapies. Keep in mind that drug allergies cause different reactions from one person to another. Therefore, your drug allergies might appear as a swell in your face or a serious drop in your blood pressure and shock. Medical malpractice only refers to a mistake that has caused serious damage, so you will not have a case if your doctor prescribes you something by mistake, which gives you a slight rash or makes you nauseous for a few hours.
Preventable medical errors have been listed as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Aside from causing deaths, there are other cases of medical malpractice that result from physician and hospital negligence, and which can lead to disabilities and delayed recovery. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take protective steps and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of medical errors and malpractices with these simple and easy-to-follow strategies.