Going to the doctor can be an unpleasant experience. Between the stress, waiting to be seen and worrying about how much it will cost, the last thing you'd want is to worry about the quality of care you receive. Unfortunately, thousands of people experience unsatisfactory, or even sub-par care, from doctors resulting in medical malpractice suits.
Medical malpractice, referred to in the medical insurance world as "Medical Professional Liability", happens when an injury to a patient is due to negligent behavior or omission by a hospital, doctor, or other healthcare professional. The negligent conduct could be caused by errors made during the diagnosis process, treatment, aftercare or health management.
According to a Harvard study, 73 percent of Medical Professional Liability (MPL) cases stem from three main groups.
Surgical treatment was the primary source of malpractice cases. Nearly half (44 percent) of occurrences involved outpatient surgery, meaning the patient does not stay overnight in the hospital following the procedure.
Medical treatment cases came in second and were divided evenly between unsuitable procedure performance, or unsatisfactory/unprofessional management of on-going care.
Diagnosis treatment was last, with the majority of missed or delayed diagnosis resulting in cancer.
If that's not worrying enough, a 2016 study by John Hopkins has come to light asserting that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States with 250,000 deaths per year. Other reports have estimated as many as 440,000. Medical Malpractice deaths are topped only by heart disease and cancer.
What does all of this mean?
As a patient, you are your biggest advocate. Talk to someone if you feel like you are not receiving quality care, or if you are concerned about the care someone is receiving. The bedside nurse is a good place to start. Don't wait to report an incident if you witness a medical error being made.
Don't be afraid to seek a second, or even third opinion if necessary.
If you believe you are a victim of medical malpractice, an attorney can help you investigate the care you received to determine if you have been harmed by the actions of a medical professional. Contact us today to learn how we can help you move forward with a medical malpractice case.