A physician’s negligence can leave you with long-term injuries. As a patient, you also have a role to play to prevent negligent medical care. You should also know what to do if you suspect medical malpractice.
Everyone, including you, has a role to play to reduce the risks of medical malpractice. Here are some of the measures you can take as a patient to reduce your exposure to medical malpractice.
Your doctor will get most of the information on your medical history from your medical records. But your medical records might not have all the information or might not be up to date. Bridge the gap so that your doctor has all the information they need to provide you with quality care.
For example, you may be on medication that is not on your medical records. Or you may have treated yourself at home for an ailment without a visit to a conventional doctor. Provide such information to your physician during consultation.
Don’t be a passive patient. Be proactive during consultation and treatment. Ask your doctor any question that comes to your mind. Don’t be embarrassed or worry about what the doctor might think of you. The doctor doesn’t expect you to know about their profession just as you wouldn’t expect the doctor to know about your profession.
Some people keep health journals to help them remember all aspects of their health and medical treatments. Try starting one because your medical records might not contain everything, and human memory is fickle. You can always refer to your journal during consultations or treatment so that the doctor has all the relevant information.
Get a second opinion if you are worried or suspicious about a procedure. The second opinion should also be from a medical doctor and not from your friends, family members, or blogs. For example, if the doctor prescribed a suspect medication, consult another doctor to confirm that you have the right drugs.
If possible, have someone accompany you to medical consultations. Your friend or family member can give you moral support and help you remember instructions that the doctor might give. This advice is particularly useful if you are very sick since you might not remember everything.
Despite your best efforts, you may still experience medical malpractice due to reasons beyond your control. The actions you take when you suspect medical malpractice determine the ease with which you can get the compensation you deserve. Here are a few steps you should take to remedy the complication and strengthen your potential case.
The first thing is to remedy the damage done by your physician. If the first physician got the diagnosis wrong, you should go to another doctor to get the correct diagnosis and relevant treatment. This step is necessary both for your health and for your potential malpractice case. Also, corrective treatment helps you to mitigate your damages, which the law expects you to do.
Request your medical records from the negligent physician or hospital. You don’t have to provide a reason for the request—your records are your property. The records will help you determine if you have a viable case. The request also helps you preserve evidence in case the negligent doctor later tries to change the records (unlikely but not impossible).
Despite their complications, medical malpractice cases have relatively short statutes of limitations two years in Nebraska). Don’t delay—consult a medical malpractice attorney who will confirm whether your case is viable and help you pursue damages.