Medical mistakes happen more often that you realize. 3% of all hospital visits result in some sort of doctor error. Of those, nearly 200,000 a year result in death. Whether it is because our emergency rooms are overcrowded, doctors are working longer hours, there is insufficient training and time, or the push by insurance companies to do more for less, these mistakes are becoming more and more common.
A doctor has the legal standard to live by. No matter what constraints he or she is under, a medical practitioner must provide the level of care that a normal professional with the same level of training and experience would be expected to provide. If you believe that your doctor’s treatment fell short of that standard, you may need to contact a medical malpractice attorney.
Types of medical mistakes
Doctor errors take many forms. One of the most common is misdiagnosis. In the rush to see more patients, doctors are spending less and less time on diagnosing. Testing, due to insurance regulations, is more limited. The misdiagnosis results in the true problem being untreated.
Another common type of error is incorrect prescriptions. The wrong drug given to the wrong patient can have disastrous results. Careful monitoring by your doctor is often necessary to make sure that not only you are taking the correct prescription, but in the right doses.
Surgical errors can be the most dangerous type of medical mistake and can have the most long-lasting effects. Types of surgical mistakes include improper sterilization, leaving material in the body after surgery, or even operating on incorrect areas of the body.
Finally, unnecessary procedures can cause you serious injury. More and more, doctors are being accused of performing needless operations, taking advantage of unsuspecting and trusting patients.
What can I do?
If you feel that your doctor has made a mistake in his treatment of you, there are certain steps you need to take. Ask questions. Keep records. Do not sign any release or agreement with the doctor or the hospital. Contact a medical malpractice attorney. You have legal rights that need to be protected. A doctor who makes a mistake while treating you may be responsible for the damage it causes. This includes medical bills, lost wages, future earnings, and pain and suffering.
Time is not on your side. Laws are in place that limits the time in which you may take action. This time limit varied from state to state, and may differ depending on when you discovered the mistake. That is why it is important to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.