Crucial steps to take if you’re a medical malpractice victim

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Medical negligence is something that no one ever wants to think about, not to mention deal with. Unfortunately, it’s real, and it has plenty of victims.

Medical malpractice can take many forms, from diagnosis errors and improper treatment to failed surgery. And if you were the victim of medical negligence, you’re more than entitled to be angry, frustrated, and fearful. Medical practitioners (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) are usually perceived as saving your life or treating you in testing times, but what happens when they fail to do so? You may have trust issues that are not so easy to overcome.

The sad truth is that you have to handle the debilitating reality of medical malpractice long after the incident. The damage can be both physical and psychological, and in either case, it feels like a betrayal. Sometimes, these accidents result in permanent trauma, which only worsens the situation. But there’s no room for despair, even if it’s indeed very annoying; take action, and do it quickly.

There are certain steps to take if you suspect you were the victim of medical negligence, so don’t get anywhere if you want to find out more!

Consider talking to the medical professional first

We know that your faith in the medical community was misplaced, but one of the most important steps to take in such circumstances is to talk to the physician in question first. No matter how angry you’re, the best way to clarify the whole thing is to discuss it with your doctor. Try to document their history and background to ensure they haven’t been involved in such cases before. It’s easy to blame your physician for everything, but did you ever think they are human, just like you? Even doctors can – and do – make errors, and it’s nothing new under the sun. What’s critical in such cases is for them to assume their mistake and treat you right. So, don’t be rushed into making accusations before understanding what went wrong and why. No one says that there are no incompetent physicians, but more often than not, errors don’t happen from lack of expertise but from proper rest.

Seek medical attention elsewhere

If you suspect that you or a loved one were the victims of misdiagnosis, it’s highly recommended to seek a second or even third medical opinion. In more severe situations like surgical errors, it is imperative to do so. Although you’re afraid to venture out and find another physician, you need to understand the importance of a second opinion. First, this helps you receive proper treatment and useful information about your current health condition. Second, a second or (in some instances) third doctor’s opinion is crucial to obtain fair compensation for damage caused by negligence.

We know you must find it daunting to find a new doctor since the first one made you have trust issues, but you need to put your health first and think rationally – if you don’t visit any physician, who else would treat your medical problems?

Follow your new treatment plan

Now that you’ve learned the importance of seeking a second medical opinion, it’s time to focus on your new treatment. It may be physical or psychological therapy, medication, or even another surgery. If you feel the prescribed treatment doesn’t work, don’t make the mistake of continuing it, like in the initial situation. Go to your second doctor and talk about it, but don’t stop or make any changes to your treatment.

Gather medical records

Anything from diagnostic images, lab results, hospital bills, and prescriptions should be in your possession if you want to prove you were the victim of medical negligence. It can sound unbelievable, but you’d be amazed to find out that some medical practitioners can hide or alter evidence if they learn you’re on their heels. That’s why it’s essential not to tell anyone the reason you ask for your medical records. If someone refuses to give them to you, you’re more than entitled to accuse them of medical malpractice – every patient has the right to their medical records. If someone is reluctant about giving you access to this information, don’t back down; remind them that it’s your right to obtain copies of your diagnosis by written request.

Consult a medical malpractice lawyer

It must be challenging to deal with such a traumatic experience, but you’re not alone in this fight. While focusing on your medical recovery, you can hire a medical malpractice lawyer to determine the merits of your case and help you get compensation for your losses. Some cases can be hard to prove; it’s like your word against the physician’s word. We advise you to get in touch with a professional that would build a strong and objective case, leaving no room for injustice. If you’ve acquired a hospital infection, for example, and don’t know if you’re eligible for compensation, there are lawyers specialised in this field who can tell you more details and further guide you with the legal proceedings. Don’t ignore hospital-acquired infections (nosocomial infections) like UTIs, BSIs, E. coli, or Ebola because they can threaten your life. So, after you seek proper medical care, contact a medical negligence lawyer to handle your case and represent you in court.

And don’t contact other parties involved in the case no matter how tempting it can be; this is your lawyer’s job.

Use a journal to document your experience

Believe it or not, it would be helpful to create a journal of everything that happened to you. Everything you remember about the care you received, no matter how insignificant, can help you prove the case. Therefore, try to recall your overall experience: the symptoms you mentioned to your doctor, prescribed treatment, and physician’s appointments. Remember to note down how this has affected your lifestyle or personal relationships, what kind of pain you feel (if the case), how your condition is diminishing your quality of life, and so on. Writing about your physical and mental symptoms can help you remember more of your visits to your doctor and thus bring crucial information to the court.