Medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in America. For those left behind, it can mean years without closure. That’s where a medical malpractice attorney comes in. An attorney can discover what really happened and provide families the closure they deserve; but, how do you know when it’s time to call an attorney? In your grief or pain, will you be able to tell?
The following are answers to all of your questions so that you can decide for yourself.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or staff member does not give the appropriate care to a patient or provides substandard services.
For medical malpractice to be considered, victims or relatives should establish three things:
- Healthcare professionals did not provide the appropriate standard quality of care.
- The professionals’ negligence led to injury or death.
- The injury resulted in real and damaging consequences.
If these three points cannot be established, there is no case.
Before contacting an attorney, there are a few things to consider:
- Most lawsuits do not result in any payment towards the patient or family. Be sure you have a strong case.
- Do not interrogate the doctors and staff or accuse anyone of malpractice before speaking to a lawyer.
- Keep all documentation. It can solidify your case.
The latter is extremely important, as there are many kinds of malpractice and each requires different supporting evidence.
When to Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney
There are several instances where you should consider contacting an attorney.
1. Mistreatment Leads to Death
If the doctors mistreated the patient, contact a lawyer. This can involve many situations, such as providing the wrong medicine, neglecting the patient, or making a mistake during surgery.
2. Lack of Communication
If the staff stops communicating openly with you, there is usually a reason why. Sometimes, it is due to patient-doctor confidentiality. But if the person consented for their information to be shared with you, there is no reason for a lack of communication.
3. Surgery Complications
In one credible study, researchers found that 30% of surgical deaths could have been avoided.
Surgical mistakes are common. If you believe this occurred, contact an attorney.
4. Neglect Due to Low Staffing
Especially in nursing homes, low staffing is a significant factor in patient care.
If there are signs that you or your loved one were neglected due to low staffing, it is time to contact a lawyer. Consider when the patient’s care occurred, how often it occurred, and to what extent.
A mistaken diagnosis can lead to debilitating and harmful effects, as was the case with Jennifer Rufer. After being told she had cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, Rufer’s doctors discovered she had abnormal substances in her blood that led to a false positive.
She never had cancer.
Cases of misdiagnosis occur 10 to 20 times more often than drug errors. If this has occurred to you or a loved one, contact an attorney.
What If I’m a Victim?
If you or someone close to you is a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important that you reach out to a medical malpractice attorney immediately and take measures to prepare.