For the majority of people in the United States their health care is something that solves problems and leads to healthier and happier lives. However, for a small number of people their health care experiences are drastically different.
We’ve all heard about medical malpractice and the lawsuits that accompany that but how much do you actually know about it. What is medical malpractice? Why does it occur? How do you proceed if you feel your health care provider has made an error?
While it’s unlikely you’ll ever be the victim of medical malpractice these are some common medical issues that can sometimes fall under the malpractice umbrella and what you can do to protect yourself.
So you’ve visited your doctor and had a battery of medical tests performed. Your doctor gives you a diagnosis based on their interpretation of the test results and their own knowledge. However, what if you later find out that you were diagnosed incorrectly and the disease you thought you were being treated for turns out to be something else?
This is one of the common forms of medical malpractice and can have a huge impact on a patient’s life. One of the reasons this type of malpractice is so unfortunate is that the patient may have been denied the correct treatment for weeks or even months, causing the disease to progress to the point where it may no longer be treatable at all. This is when you contact an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice to discuss your options.
Again, most women in the United States give birth with few or no complications. They enter the hospital, the doctor or midwife delivers the baby, and the new mom takes her bundle of joy home. However, modern obstetrical practice now includes the use of many tools and medications that can sometimes do more harm than good.
Many birth injuries occur during what’s referred to as a vacuum birth. When a physician uses a vacuum to literally suck the baby from the birth canal this can cause damage to the cranial bones or create bleeding in the brain. In other cases infants can suffer from broken bones during delivery, usually in the shoulder or collarbone.
In some cases birth injuries are inevitable if the life of the baby or mother are in danger but you should consult with your attorney to learn more.
Most people trust their doctors and pharmacists to prescribe the appropriate medications for their conditions and dispense them properly, and this is generally the case. However, medications, their strength, side effects, and their potential interactions with other medications can cause disastrous results.
Some physicians don’t adequately explain the side effects of medications and what patients should do if they experience those side effects. For example, Dilantin is a popular drug used to treat seizure disorders but has a long list of side effects, some of them potentially fatal. If you experience severe side effects from any medication and don’t feel that your doctor is addressing these issues in a timely manner or if you become hospitalized for these side effects it’s time to discuss this with an attorney.
We’ve all heard tales of surgery gone wrong. A doctor leaves an instrument inside a patient’s body or the left knee was repaired when it was in fact the right knee that needed the surgical procedure. These are things that wind up in the headlines but many people don’t realize that it could potentially happen to them.
When you are scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure it’s vital that you not only follow the doctor’s pre-op instructions but that you also ask questions of your own. Take some responsibility for your health and read all you can about the procedure, talk to your doctor about what to expect, try to schedule a meeting with the anesthesiologist before the procedure. This can be difficult as the anesthesiologist is often assigned to your case on the day of the surgery but ask your doctor who they prefer to work with and try to schedule a meeting.
In the rare case that something does go wrong during surgery you’ll need a team of malpractice experts on your side.
Americans pay some of the highest health care costs in the world and we expect to get what we pay for. If you ever feel as if your health care provider has made a gross error in the course of your treatment then know your rights and contact an attorney. Your life could depend on it.