We all hope healthcare professionals are experienced, careful, and diligent, but this is not always the case. According to a recent research by patient-safety researchers led by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Martin Makary that was published in the BMJ, medical errors in hospitals and allied facilities may now be the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S., taking over 250,000 lives each year, and killing more people than accidents, respiratory disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.
Identifying signs of medical malpractice is important because you will then terminate unhelpful or dangerous medical care and start on your journey to good medical care. If you see signs, you can then contact a personal injury attorney to seek compensatory and punitive damages on your behalf. If you lose a loved one to medical malpractice, knowing the signs enables you to start the journey towards seeking compensation. So, what are these signs?
1.Standard tests were not ordered
There are standard tests for each ailment that are aimed at helping healthcare professionals in diagnosis. As an example, you expect a Mammography if you go in with a breast tumor, Electrocardiogram (EKG) if you go in with heart problem, Complete Blood Count (CBC) if you have a suspected infection and an X-ray if you have a suspected broken bone. If you do not receive such tests, there is a risk you will not get adequate care.
If you have been visiting a healthcare professional and it took a long time to arrive at a diagnosis, and you have passed the point where your condition could have been treated with ease had it been diagnosed sooner, you may be a medical malpractice victim. This is especially true for such conditions as cancer, which can be treated when caught early.
3.No additional tests ordered
Your healthcare professional should not base your entire diagnosis on the results of a single lab test. There should be other bases for the diagnosis, especially given that your tests can be contaminated and lab technicians can mix up samples. If your healthcare provider does not do due diligence and you are misdiagnosed, this could be medical malpractice.
4.Your condition deteriorates or remains the same
If, after treatment, your condition remains the same or deteriorates, this is most likely due to gross oversight. However, this depends on the actual condition, because sometimes the body does not respond to medical intervention. In case of a surgery, you expect to recover, albeit slowly, with time. Failure to recover could be due to such reasons as instruments being sewn up inside your body or the doctor could have performed the wrong procedure on you.
5.No follow up
If your healthcare provider did not follow up after diagnosis, after a procedure, during the treatment, or during recovery and your condition deteriorates, this is medical malpractice. Healthcare professionals are mandated to follow up until recovery.
6. The facility seems understaffed and understocked
If the facility you are in does not have sufficient staffing and sufficient stocking of drugs medical equipment and you do not receive proper medical care as a direct result (such as no medication to prevent bleeding in case of an emergency), this is medical negligence.
7.Your input was not considered
A doctor cannot read your mind, no matter how good he/she is. If your doctor did not bother to not only listen but also hear you describe your symptoms and history, and as a result misdiagnoses you, this is medical malpractice.
8.Different opinions from different doctors
If you get a second opinion from a doctor and it is very different from what you had with your other doctor, you might have been misdiagnosed or improperly cared for. In such a case, get a third opinion to ensure it is not the second doctor who is wrong.