Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are held to a high standard, which is why the idea of them committing an error is not a welcome idea to many people. They have extensive training and have committed their careers to always look after their patients.
Still, they are human beings, and just like us, they also commit mistakes. They can mess up sometimes. However, unlike the rest of us, their mistakes and errors can lead to severe, and in some cases, fatal health consequences for their patients.
The best way to protect yourself against medical malpractice is to never see a doctor, which is obviously not a good thing to do. But as a patient, who seeks proper medical care and attention, you can protect yourself from medical errors and mistakes by following the steps below.
1. Seek Legal Help
As a patient, you should be proactive about your health. However, you’re not responsible for the errors and mistakes made by your doctor. If you wind up getting injured due to a medical error, a surgical mistake, or wrong diagnosis, you need to exercise your rights to pursue legal action.
Learn more by consulting an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice cases. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist you in determining the best course of action as a result of the negligence of your doctor. Don’t hesitate to consult a medical malpractice lawyer even if you think your case is worth pursuing or not.
2. Choose A Competent & Caring Medical Professional
If you’re lucky enough to be able to choose your own doctor, you should utilize this opportunity wisely. Take your time to research so you can find the right one. You can ask referrals from talking to your friends and family members or medical professionals. Make sure that the medical professional you’re going to pick is experienced, board-certified, honest, caring, respectful, and is affiliated with a hospital.
The hospital that your doctor is affiliated with should also be highly-rated. A good hospital must have all of its parts working efficiently and effectively to ensure that all patients are safe during their treatment and stay. Take note that hospitals are different—the level of care you receive you receive one hospital could be different from another hospital.
3. Always Ask Questions
Before you hire or see a doctor, it’s a good idea to ask some questions. Write down a couple questions that you want to ask on a piece of paper before your scheduled appointment. This is important since most doctors only have about 10 to 15 minutes for each patient, so having your questions prepared in advance can help in getting the most out of the meeting and ensure that you can all the answers you need.
If during the meeting a doctor doesn’t want to answer some of your questions, cuts you off, or gives you unrelated answers, this is a clear sign that you need to find another one who is able and willing to provide you with proper medical attention that you need.
4. Be Knowledgeable About Medical Malpractice
The most important step you can take to protect yourself against medical malpractice is to know everything about your condition. Equip yourself with knowledge about the possible symptoms, side effects, medications, and drug combinations that are associated with your condition. So, in case a doctor fails to explain things properly to you, it’s less likely that their mistakes will harm you.
Educating yourself can also give you confidence when it comes to standing up for yourself against your healthcare providers, especially if they’re unwilling or unable to explain things to you. With proper knowledge, you can easily tell whether they are giving you the attention and care that you need or not.
5. Always Get A Second Opinion
If you’re not comfortable with the diagnosis or treatment your doctor gave you, you should get a second opinion from another doctor or medical professional. You should never hesitate or feel embarrassed about this. Even if you think your physician is competent and experienced, he can still make mistakes that may harm you.
Medical errors and mistakes are dangerous. Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself and your rights as a patient. Choose a competent doctor, be proactive in your own care, ask questions, and always get a second opinion. Pay more attention to the medications you're taking and report to your doctor if it has side effects. If you think that your attending physician have made a mistake, don’t hesitate to ask about it.