You place a lot of trust in your doctor. After all, he or she went to medical school and has the experience and education to guide in making the best possible medical decisions. For most people, the faith they place in a doctor is reasonable, and the doctor upholds that trust through years of providing care. In some cases, however, the decisions, actions or inaction of a doctor could have a profoundly negative impact.
It only takes a few seconds for a mistake on the operating table to result in permanent consequences. Mistakes with the administration of medicine could also be dangerous, while failing to diagnose a condition could increase a patient's chance of dying due to the illness. Educating yourself about the dangers of medical mistakes can help you advocate for yourself in a medical setting.
200,000 people die annually due to medical mistakes
Roughly 200,000 Americans die each year because of a mistake made by a medical professional. Statistics also indicate that 20 times more people than that suffer injuries due to medical mistakes or malpractice. That's a horrifying 4,200,000 people each year adversely affected by doctors' decisions. Many of those medical mistakes fall into one of several common categories, including medication errors, unnecessary procedures, mistakes that cause birth injuries during labor, and delivery and surgical mistakes.
There are certain things you can do to reduce your personal risk of experiencing a medical mistake. Make sure you talk openly with your doctors. Taking notes may be a good idea. Save any orders, notes and other information provided by your doctor. You have the right to a second opinion and to verify the claims your doctor makes. If you don't agree with something, inform yourself and discuss your feelings with your doctor.
Medical malpractice claims can help you after a medical mistake
No matter how well-informed and proactive you are about your own medical care, it's still possible for the professionals assisting you to make mistakes. When that happens, you could find yourself in a difficult situation. You may still require care, but the mistake may have damaged your trust in the doctor or medical facility involved. There could be costs associated with correcting the mistake, as well as addressing your initial concern when seeking care.
In some situations, like a birth injury or a wrong-site surgery mistake, there could be lifelong ramifications for you as the patient. You may not be able to return to work or even provide for all of your own self-care. In that scenario, you may need to consider filing a medical malpractice claim. These claims can help you connect with the compensation you need to offset your losses. They also help hold the doctor or other professionals accountable for the mistake or oversight.