Thousands of people every year end up injured, sickened or killed because of mistakes that happen in hospitals. Many times, the patients and families involved in these dilemmas do not even realize a medical mistake was the cause of their situation. It can be hard for those with limited medical knowledge to determine the cause of an unexpected and negative outcome to medical treatment.
Electronic medical records have helped a little with transparency. Patients may have an easier time getting ahold of their records and reviewing them. Similarly, hospitals’ best practices and other policies may be available online or by request. That can make it much easier for patients to compare their treatment with optimal practices for similar situations. When they notice a deviation, they can address it with a doctor to find out what happened.
Why proving medical mistakes can be tricky
Medical mistakes and medical malpractice can be difficult to identify and even harder to prove. Medical records may be incomplete, or the individual who made a mistake or omission may have falsified records to cover their tracks. After all, medical professionals don’t want to lose their jobs, and hospitals and similar medical businesses don’t want to leave themselves open to liability.
Proving medical mistakes can be difficult in cases that result in a death. Whether it was a doctor’s failure to diagnose, a medication mistake or another critical error, families owe it to the memory of their loved one to determine the cause of death and whether a mistake played into the outcome. It’s important to note that not all negative outcomes are the result of malpractice. Determining cause is important to establishing fault for an injury or death.
Some medical providers are embracing accountability
Thankfully, some hospitals and medical providers have learned to acknowledge when they make mistakes. A doctor may review your medical records and advise you that previous care was not adequate or up to modern standards. Sometimes, a doctor or nurse may even come to a patient and apologize for a mistake. When that happens, the medical facility will often take steps to correct the mistake.
If new treatment, surgery or other medical attention is needed to address the previous mistake, the doctor or hospital may offer those services to the patient free of charge. They may do the same with any follow-up treatments or ongoing care needed. If the hospital does not offer compensation or assistance with overcoming a medical mistake, however, patients may need to take steps to protect themselves.
Medical malpractice claims help victims recover losses
Filing a medical malpractice claim is basically requesting special insurance coverage. All practicing doctors and medical facilities in the United States have to carry special malpractice insurance policies to offset the risk involved in medicine. When a patient ends up injured or sickened by a medical mistake, these policies offset the losses to the health care provider and protect the patient by offering compensation.