Medical Malpractice: How to Respond
American medical providers are legally and morally obligated to provide their patients with what is called a “standard of care.” This simply means that they must take the best care of their patients possible without ever knowingly causing harm, and make sure their patients are well-informed so that they can provide informed consent.
This standard exists for a simple reason: When we are sick, we rely on doctors, nurses, and the staffs of the hospitals or offices where they work to take help us get better. They are an important part of our community, and they are expected to be flawless. As a result, they must learn and train for years, often engaging in ongoing education even once they have begun their professional careers so that they may provide their patients with the best care humanly possible. This is a heavy burden, but a necessary one.
By the American Medical Association’s own admission, medical malpractice is the United States’ third leading cause of death. Medical malpractice can take on infinite forms, but it is has two key requirements. First, that a medical professional enters into a doctor-patient (or nurse-patient) relationship with a patient, and second, that the healthcare professional violates the standard of care and thus causes their patient harm. Violations of standard of care can range from misdiagnosis to mistakes made in treatment, to surgical errors.
Despite the AMA’s best efforts, creating perfect medical malpractice reporting statistics is difficult. The estimates are still frightening. As many as 1% of all American hospital patients are harmed as a direct result of medical malpractice, and only an estimated 3% of all malpractice victims make an effort to file a claim against the negligent medical professionals who have harmed them. Worst of all, up to 3 out of every 4 malpractice events are completely unreported!
If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you cannot remain silent.
If this is you, seek the opinion of another medical professional, and reach out to an attorney at once. Attorneys will provide you with free consultations to help you determine whether or not you have been the victim of medical malpractice. If they believe you have, they will try to help you explore your options to determine what you need to do next, and how they can help you along that path. Your health is too important to risk by hoping that “everything is fine!”