What Should I Do If I Suspect Medical Malpractice?

surgeon preparing for surgery

When you are harmed by a medical professional’s negligence, always consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You should also seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing sudden symptoms that could be life-threatening.

Medical malpractice is a serious issue in the United States. In a 2016 study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Conducted over an eight-year period, the study found that more than 250,000 people die due to medical negligence each year, accounting for approximately 10% of all deaths in the U.S. in any given year.

These significant figures highlight the importance of knowing how to respond to a medical malpractice error. Keep reading to learn more about the steps you can take to protect yourself or a loved one.

Don’t Discuss Malpractice with Your Physician

Avoid accusing your doctor of malpractice before you’ve consulted with an attorney. Taking any such action outside of the scope of a legal strategy designed by an experienced attorney can hurt your chances of success in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

For the same reason, you should avoid posting any kind of legal accusations on social media or other places on the Internet. Although you may think it’s warranted to warn future patients, a doctor who feels threatened by allegations of malpractice might sue for defamation.

Get Another Doctor

Your health should be your priority. When you believe your doctor made a medical error that harmed you, seek assistance from another doctor. Returning to your physician can put you at risk of suffering from additional medical negligence, such as a delayed or ineffective treatment.

When you consult with your second doctor, explain why you’re seeking a diagnosis and or treatment, including your suspicions of medical malpractice. Your new physician can write notes in your chart documenting your condition and treatment with them, as well as any evidence of medical malpractice previously incurred.

Obtain Your Medical Records

Your medical records are integral to the documentation of any medical malpractice you have endured. They can prove that you were misdiagnosed or received treatment that was inappropriate for your illness or injury.

Once you’re in another doctor’s care, request copies of your medical records from both your new and prior physician, and keep them safe. Ask for as much information as you can think of, from notes in your charts to lab results and your medication history.

Journal Your Experience

Don’t rely on your doctors to keep contemporaneous notes of your medical situation for you. Although you may not be a doctor, your contemporaneous account of what happened during a medical malpractice incident can matter a lot in the future.

If you haven’t started already, write down your experience in as much detail as possible. Document your symptoms, the treatment (or lack thereof) provided, and how your doctor’s medical error has impacted your life. For example, if you’ve been experiencing so much pain that you’ve had to take time off of work, make sure you write down how much time you’ve taken off.

Your journal entries can not only be used to help prove your medical malpractice case, but they can also help the jury assess awards for damages you incurred.

Contact an Attorney for Help Now!

If you suspect medical malpractice has harmed you, don’t wait to get legal assistance. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible can help you protect your claim and recover damages for losses caused by your doctor’s negligence.

Learn more about how our experienced attorney at the Law Office of David Kates can help when you contact us today.