A patient goes into a hospital for planned surgery and while that initial treatment may go well, he ends up with a staph infection that nearly kills him. Another patient, scheduled for shoulder surgery, receives the planned operation on the wrong side of her body instead. Yet another patient becomes a victim when he receives a much higher dose of medicine than he should, goes into a coma and eventually dies.
These are all terrible stories that have happened to other people. But what if they’re not something that affects “other people”? When the victim of medical malpractice is your spouse, your parent or your child, what should you do?
Let’s define medical malpractice
There’s a difference between what you can normally expect-such as reasonable risks or outcomes your doctor discusses with you-and medical negligence. According to legal experts, a case for medical malpractice can potentially be made if the following things are true:
- The medical profession’s standards of care were not met. The law states that when the standards are not met, negligence may have occurred.
- The patient has suffered serious harm or injury from said negligence. In other words, the negligence led to the injury, which would not have happened without it. The injury can be physical, psychological, financial or all three.
- The injury or harm to the patient is profound and life-changing.
- If the patient did not give informed consent to a procedure (even if the procedure itself goes well), you may have grounds for medical malpractice.
Do you have the energy to deal with the hospital?
When disaster strikes and your loved ones are facing devastating consequences, you may be tempted to accept what’s happened and just move on. Your emotions are raw-one minute angry, one minute sad-and you’re struggling to keep going. So much of what’s happening is extremely painful. You may not have the support or bandwidth to deal with asking the crucial questions or examining the steps that were taken.
But you don’t have to accept what happened. And you don’t have to deal with it on your own. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer for guidance on whether you may have a case for medical malpractice. The changes in your family life may be significant and expensive. The hospital and your insurance company may try to rush you into a settlement. Take your time and get legal advice.