When you head off to the doctor’s office or hospital, you are likely hoping to get some relief from your ailment. You expect to be able to rely on the expertise of the physician and the medical staff, who will then treat your sickness or injury and send you on your way. Physicians are trusted individuals due to their high level of education and certification in their various specialties.
Then, unexpectedly, something goes wrong. You thought you were going to feel better, but now the situation is worse. Not only has the doctor failed to fix the issue, but now you are suffering from added ill effects. Are you a victim of medical negligence? You will be better able to tell if you know the types of malpractice and understand what can go wrong.
Varieties of medical negligence
There are several types of medical negligence. In addition, not every mistake on the doctor’s part is malpractice. Physicians are human beings, so some mistakes are unavoidable. Others, however, are very much so, and if you suffer because of shoddy medical care, you will have the option to seek justice for the error.
Here are five basic categories of medical negligence:
- Medical battery and informed consent: If your doctor fails to inform you of the risks of the procedure, or if he outright lies about the potential for harm, this is a case of medical battery.
- Wrong site/wrong procedure: Yes, surgical procedures can and do go wrong. If the doctor amputates the wrong limb, or performs the surgery on the wrong patient, these types of blatant errors are malpractice if you can show that the doctor failed to exercise reasonable care.
- Post-surgical infections: The physician will need to take reasonable precautions, per the recognized standard of care, to prevent you from contracting an infection after an operation.
- Prescription errors: Sometimes a doctor will prescribe the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of the medication or a medication that interferes with other conditions in the patient. This can also constitute malpractice.
- Failure to diagnose: If your physician, or the medical staff that is treating you, fails to recognize the commonly accepted symptoms of an illness, and fails to treat you or order the proper tests, you may have a case for failure to diagnose.
How do errors happen?
So, you may be asking yourself, how do these errors happen? They can result from several causes. These causes include carelessness, inexperience, a high volume of patients or just about any other reason. However, these reasons are not excuses, and you are entitled to compensation for the damages that result from improper medical care.
Getting a fair resolution
After the mistake, you are likely dealing with added medical bills, a potential disability, not to mention your feelings of frustration and violation. You have the right to speak up and request that your doctor take responsibility for the damage caused. The costs of medical malpractice can be significant, and you deserve to pursue compensation for the full extent of the harm.