People tend to fully trust their doctors because they are medical professionals. But these experts are only human, and they do make mistakes. Even though they are armed with knowledge, they might make errors because of fatigue, misinformation, misinterpretation of information, inexperience and several other factors.
When unfortunate incidents occur, the person at fault can be sued by a patient for medical malpractice.
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Most hospital accidents are related to misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, poor treatment, surgical errors, birth injuries, and prescription drug miscalculations. Medical professionals can also be sued if they don’t obtain proper consent for surgeries or treatments. Any type of mistake in the diagnosis and care of a person can have serious repercussions on his health and his life. So, how do you protect yourself and your loved one from medical errors? Below are a few tips.
1. Acknowledge that medical professionals are human too. Once you recognize that your doctor is human, just like you, you also realize that he could make mistakes too. It is alright to hold medical experts in high regard, but you must not blindly trust and follow them because they are not perfect.
2. Learn more about your physician. Who is your doctor? Whether you’re looking for a family doctor or a specialist, you must do your research properly. Ask your family and friends for recommendations, and visit clinics or hospitals to check out the names of the doctors who are working in your locality. Use online resources too. Most hospitals today have internet presence, and you can read more about a facility’s medical team via their official websites. Also, don’t forget to scour through testimonials from patients. More importantly, find out if a doctor has encountered legal problems related to negligence or medical malpractice.
3. Ask for a second opinion. Because some individuals are afraid to offend their trustworthy family doctor, they forgo getting a second opinion from another specialist. If you do find yourself in this position, don’t be afraid to obtain the opinion of a different expert, especially when it comes to serious health issues, such as cancer and HIV. A good doctor will even encourage you to talk to other physicians, or he might even refer you to someone who specializes in the condition that you are experiencing.
What’s advantageous about getting a second opinion is that you get to discuss your health problems with another professional who could verify the findings of your primary physician. This will also allow you to ask for other treatment options. Remember that doctors also talk to their peers when faced with challenging matters. In a manner of speaking, they also obtain other experts’ opinions, particularly when dealing with challenging medical problems.
4. Make sure that everything is well-documented. Everyone who works in health care knows that if something is not documented, then it was not done. When it comes to the care of an individual, medical workers meticulously record each action that they make because they know that a patient’s chart can also be used as a legitimate document in case of a lawsuit. Medical records can also be your lifesaver if you’re planning to sue because you think that you or someone you love was neglected. More importantly, documentation are essential when dealing with serious cases, such as severe injury or death because of medical errors. As what Bob M. Cohen & Associates stated, you have the right to get compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of inheritance, loss of future earnings, and funeral costs.
5. Verify medications. Although uncommon, there are some doctors who make mistakes in calculating drug dosage. Hence, always double-check your prescription with your doctor and pharmacist. It is especially important to review the dosage when the patient is a baby or a young child or when dealing with controlled medicines.
This article was contributed by Claire Taylor. She is a freelance writer who has done a lot of research about accidents and safety issues.