Visiting a hospital is supposed to provide a sense of security. A patient should not have to worry his or her doctor will make errors when assisting them, but unfortunately, these things do happen. So what exactly is medical negligence, and how does one know if they are a victim?
The Truth Behind Medical Negligence
Some may believe medical malpractice involves the doctor making a mistake while providing care. That is not always the case. Medical malpractice cases occur when an error occurred that resulted in harm to the patient. The error does not have to be the result of the doctor, but any medical professional who comes in contact with the patient either directly or indirectly. This can include nurses or lab technicians.
Medical negligence is defined as a medical professional's failure to provide the proper assistance. This can occur any time the patient is receiving treatment. A common scenario is the doctor making a wrong diagnosis or not giving the proper treatment or medication for the illness. If the standard practice of medical care is not followed for the patient’s problem, there could be a legitimate medical malpractice claim.
How Does One Prove Medical Negligence?
The doctor making a mistake is not enough for a medical malpractice claim. The patient must also prove he or she was harmed as a result of the medical professional's actions. An unnecessary amputation of a limb, an operation resulting in brain or spinal damage, or treatment which allows a condition to worsen are all examples of injuries resulting from medical negligence.
Additionally, a patient must prove the injury is directly connected to the error of the medical professional. This would be causation, and can be the most difficult and expensive part of a medical malpractice case. This component of the case usually requires at least one expert witness to attest to the connection between the injury and the error.
When filing a medical malpractice suit, there are some additional contingencies that a patient should know. If there is even a suspicion of medical negligence, the patient should file as soon as possible. Statutes of limitations vary from state to state with requirements that must be met before a medical malpractice suit can be filed.
How Does One Prevent Medical Negligence?
A patient can take proactive measures to ensure he or she never becomes the victim of a medical malpractice. These include:
1. Research to make sure the health condition is properly understood and diagnosed.
2. Prepare a written list of questions in advance, and expect thorough and informative answers from health care providers.
3. Don't be intimidated. Medical professionals move quickly, but a patient should take it upon themselves to make sure they understand everything during treatment. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and speak up if something is troubling you.
4. Trust the doctor or nurse, but listen to your body. Communication is key.
If you feel you may be a victim of medical negligence, contact Ohio Injury Law in Columbus, Ohio as soon as possible for legal advice.