When you seek help from a doctor, you have faith that he or she has the training and skills necessary to perform the right tests, read the results correctly, make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the best form of treatment to put you back on the road to health. Likewise, if you spend time in the hospital, you trust that the doctors, nurses and others on staff are making the right decisions on your behalf, whether it’s dispensing medicine or giving you anesthesia.
But the fact is medical mistakes happen more than most people realize. Consider these facts:
• A study by HealthGrades found that mistakes occur in 155 out of every 1,000 cases of hospitalization.
• A National Patient Safety Foundation study found that 42 percent of patients surveyed had experienced a medical mistake.
• Nearly 95 percent of doctors surveyed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said they had witnessed medical mistakes in their careers.
• The rate for misdiagnosis in emergency rooms and intensive care units ranges from 20 to 40 percent, according to cureresearch.com.
• The top five conditions most likely to result in mistakes are heart attack, breast cancer, appendicitis, lung cancer and colon cancer, according to a 2000 Davenport report.
What is Medical Malpractice?
In general, medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, nurse, other medical professional or medical facility makes a mistake that negatively affects a patient’s care.
There are many different kinds of medical malpractice including:
• Anesthesia errors
• Surgical mistakes
• Wrongful death
• Birth injury
• Defective equipment
• Failure to diagnose
• Medication errors
• Delay in treating an urgent illness
• Infection resulting from failure to sterilize
• Following improper protocol.
What should you do if you believe you’re a victim of medical malpractice? Experts agree: Use your instincts. Don’t ignore unexplained symptoms or a treatment plan that isn’t working. Seek out second opinions.
It’s also a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm as soon as possible. Attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice can help you investigate details and get the information you need to understand your situation and ask for the compensation you deserve.