Q How can I tell if I'm a victim of medical malpractice?
Determining whether you're the victim of medical malpractice can be difficult. Not every mistake, complication, or side effect of a treatment is caused by a health care provider’s negligence. However, there are clues you can look for if you're worried a doctor or another medical professional committed malpractice. These clues may determine whether your suspicions should be investigated further.
Look for These Clues of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical care provider deviates from the acceptable standard of care and you suffer injuries as a result. There are important signs to use as evaluation in your case, including:
- No medical improvement. If your medical condition doesn't improve in response to your treatment or surgery, this could be a sign that medical malpractice occurred in treatment decisions or in surgical procedures.
- Insufficient tests. If your diagnosis and treatment is based on a single lab test, you may not be receiving the proper level of care. Medical tests can be mishandled or misinterpreted. For many conditions, more than a single lab test is done to determine the correct problem and necessary treatment.
- Unanswered questions. You have a right to be informed of your health situation. When your doctor fails to answer your questions or to provide you with the details of your condition, this could be a sign he knows something with your treatment wasn't done properly and is reluctant to tell you this.
- Obvious misdiagnosis. In some cases, a misdiagnosis that constitutes medical malpractice may be more obvious. For example, if you went to the emergency room with a headache and were told to take pain medication, the doctor may not have diagnosed your condition properly if, a few days later, another physician determines that you have meningitis.
- Lengthy delayed diagnosis. Sometimes doctors not only don't diagnose a medical problem properly, but also don't discover the error until the condition has developed to a point where treatment will have little effect on the outcome. This can be devastating when the condition is a life-threatening disease, like cancer.
- Lack of follow-up. Your medical care providers should follow up with you on the course of treatment by scheduling appointments, appropriate medical tests, and necessary procedures. If your condition worsens due to a lack of proper follow-up, this may constitute a malpractice case.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you determine if you have a claim for compensation. He can also attempt to negotiate a settlement for you and file a lawsuit if necessary. To learn how attorney Alan Morton can assist you, call our office to schedule your free consultation.