Top 10 Tips to Avoid Falling Prey to Medical Malpractice

By | August 4, 2016

One of the worst things to happen to anyone is becoming a victim of medical malpractice. Whether it is an overlook in the diagnosis, an erroneous prescription, or a botched surgery, even a slight mistake in conducting medical procedures can cause the treatment take a turn for the worst. In the process, it is not only the unsuspecting patients, but also their families, who suffer. 

It is crucial for patients to see a skilled and experienced doctor to ensure proper treatment. At the same time, it is also important to understand the risk factors that come with dealing with medical practitioners, healthcare providers, and medical institutions.

With a little mindfulness, these risks can be mitigated to a great extent.

Mentioned ahead are a few tips that can help you get reliable and better-quality medical care, thereby keeping you from falling prey to malpractice.

1. Look for Skill and Experience

One way to increase the likelihood of landing a dependable doctor is by selecting one who is experienced and equipped with board-certified credentials. This will go a long way in ensuring that he/she is capable of detecting the trickiest of medical conditions, making correct diagnoses, and providing personalized care, if the need arises.

Board certifications are testimonies of the doctor’s skills that assure that he/she meets the minimal level of training and competency. If you come across a doctor who isn’t board-certified, avoid seeking treatment from him/her, and look for one who is.

2. Choose the Best

Typically, competent doctors are lapped up by the best hospitals, which is why you should choose one who is associated with renowned healthcare institutions. Many people make the mistake of rushing to the hospital closest to them, without realizing that that hospital may not be the best one to treat their condition. It is always better to do some research and figure out where the hospital stands in the healthcare industry. As much as possible, be open to travel to receive the best medical care.

3. Be Aware

No one can be more aware of your medical condition than you. If you think you’re not, invest some time in educating yourself about it. Remember, you play the biggest role in ensuring your health. Ask your family doctor about any condition, and enquire about the treatment options available. You can also turn to the Internet for more information on these topics.

If a certain disease or medical condition runs in your family, you may be at a risk of having it, too. In such a case, you will do well get screened regularly for major health risks such as cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, and so on. Don’t wait for your doctor’s instructions; take the initiative yourself. If your doctor fails to respond to your health-related questions, find a new one.

4. Do Not Forget to Follow Up

Most medical procedures involve testing, the results of which reveal details about your health. However, it doesn’t end there. Following-up on the tests is critical. You never know what the results will divulge. When you go for testing, ask the person-in-charge how the results will be communicated to you, as sometimes they can be forgotten or misplaced. Also, make it a point to attend every follow-up visit recommended by your doctor.

5. Specialists Can Be Helpful

If you suffer from a major health condition, you may want to consider seeking treatment from a specialist. Specialists tend to be better equipped to study complex cases deeply, administer treatment, and monitor the results. Their skills may prove to be extremely helpful, especially if you require personalized care for a chronic ailment.

6. Second Opinions Matter

Your doctor told you that you’re suffering from a serious illness, but you aren’t convinced with his/her diagnosis? That’s not uncommon. In such a case, you may want to seek a second opinion from another doctor to be absolutely sure. Doing so can be particularly helpful if your condition is rare, or if an expensive procedure or surgery has been recommended. Consider visiting another doctor and get a credible second viewpoint.

7. Surgery Needs Special Consideration

If your doctor tells you that you need surgery to get better, you need not agree to it immediately, unless you genuinely trust him/her. If you smell foul play, it is always better to confirm your surgeon’s experience in treating procedures specific to yours. Ask him/her about the success/failure rate, and how often he/she performs such procedures. Also, enquire about other doctors/surgeons who will be involved in the procedure, and their level of experience. Other questions to consider are whether or not the procedure will be supervised by a senior, or if your surgeon will be present in the operation room throughout. The answers to these questions will go a long way in helping you make an informed decision.

8. Communicate Openly

Flawless communication between a doctor and a patient is highly important. Keep all channels of communication open with your healthcare provider(s) and insist that they answer all of your questions to your satisfaction. Be actively involved in your treatment process to receive the most comprehensive medical care for your ailment.

9. Don’t Ignore Your Gut Feeling

Sometimes, it helps to trust your instincts and be guided by them. For example, if you think that your health needs medical attention, but you have been told that you’re perfectly fine by your doctor, go with your gut instinct and seek a second opinion. You never know – as human beings, doctors can be wrong at times.

10. Approach an Attorney If Required

Medical malpractice can have several health implications, including wrongful death. If you or your loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, and find that you aren’t able to fully partake in your treatment or aftercare, you can sue your healthcare provider. Consider hiring an expert attorney to represent your case. Only an attorney will be able to help you navigate through the legal formalities and procedures, and fight for you in settlement or court. A wrongful death attorney can be your best ally in such difficult situations.

More often than not, you’ll meet doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who will provide you with outstanding medical care and facilities. However, as humans, everyone is prone to err. This is why it is crucial that not only medical professionals are alert and careful, but patients and their families are cautious, as well. Being a victim of medical malpractice can leave the victim penniless, and also escalate his/her ill-health condition. The above tips should help you stay on the safe side of the medical route.

About the Author:

Roger Davis is a freelance content writer, who has years of experience in providing unique and high-quality content for the law industry. He has been writing for Gladstein Law Firm, based in Louisville. They have decades of experience in handling personal injury, car accident, and medical malpractice cases.

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