3 Things You Should Do After Suffering Medical Malpractice
By: William Wirt Brock – 6 February 2016
When a patient suffers complications of a medical procedure or is injured in a hospital, nursing home or other medical facility, it is important to take certain steps to make the process of seeking compensation in a medical malpractice claim as quick and painless as possible.
Medical malpractice may exist when a healthcare provider’s care falls below the standard of care due to their patients. This can take on many forms, but generally it results in the patient being harmed in some way. The harm can take the form of a worsening of a previous condition, an injury to the patient not associated with a previous condition, a misuse or incorrect application of a medication, or many other injuries. The importance is to recognize that when a patient is injured by a medical provider and may have a medical malpractice claim, the patient should begin to act to preserve her own rights, immediately.
Accordingly, you should:
1. Maintain a diary or journal.
Write down the names of the personnel who treated you and those you speak with. When possible, get the provider’s business card. Also keep track of the names of the conditions or illnesses and the date and time when you speak with each provider. Keeping an accurate account of what happened and when may be vital to properly articulating a patient’s injury. Also keep track of each medication administered and when. With this information, the process of evaluating your claim will be far easier.
2. Keep a family member close.
If you suspect a mistake has been made, the patient should have a family member, close friend, or another trusted representative close to assist in maintaining records and to express the concerns of the patient. Contacting a patient advocate may also serve the same function. However possible, it is important that the patient have someone looking out for her interests.
3. Follow all doctor’s instructions.
This may be counter-intuitive, however, even if you suspect that a provider has committed medical malpractice, you should continue to follow their instructions; they still have a duty to care for you and should try to help you even if they have made a mistake. While a doctor may have caused injury, until a patient is under the care of another provider, it may save the patient’s life to obey the provider’s instructions.
As with all injuries, time may be of the essence in a medical malpractice case. While there are some complicated exceptions, generally, an injury to a person must be brought into court by the plaintiff, or his executor, within two years of the date of the injury. This is known as the limitations period under the statute of limitations and it can be devastating if the deadline is missed.