Don’t be a victim of medical malpractice

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins revealed that more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year due to medical mistakes.  It is now the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Unfortunately, that figure could be as high as 440,000 because human error and system failures are rarely noted as the cause of death on a death certificate.

Medical malpractice occurs when doctors, nurses, techs, pharmacists, or hospitals are negligent in providing the accepted standard of care, resulting in harm or wrongdoing to a patient. While every medical procedure carries with it some element of risk and will not always result in a positive outcome, the best way to avoid medical malpractice is to take an active part in your own medical care. 

 Obtain a copy of your medical records, and spend some time reviewing them.  If you don’t understand something that your doctor has discussed with you or that’s in your records, don’t feel intimidated to ask for clarification. You always have the option of getting a second opinion. 

Bring a family member or friend to your appointments because it’s good to have a second set of “ears” listening to what your doctor is discussing with you, especially about treatment options. Have a friend or family member stay with you at the hospital if you’re undergoing a procedure involving anesthetics or other medications that may leave you incapacitated to ensure that you’re receiving quality care throughout your stay.

Ask questions during every stage of care, from the initial diagnosis, the development of a treatment plan, while undergoing treatment, and post-treatment care.  Make sure that your doctor takes the time to fully answer your questions and in a language that you can understand. If he or she doesn’t welcome your questions, find another doctor.

It may be difficult for you or your family to determine whether your injury was unavoidable or the result of negligence or an error committed by your doctor or other medical professional. Attorneys that specialize in cases of medical malpractice can help you make that determination.

Do your research

A majority of patients check online reviews as a way to research doctors.  The problem with online reviews is that most deal with the “customer experience” vs the actual health care that’s provided. 

Reviews found on online sites like Web M.D., Yelp, and Vitals are often lacking in objective information about the professional background of the doctors’, any formal accusations made against them from medical malpractice victims, or past disciplinary action taken by the Medical Board of California.

Instead, talk to trusted friends or medical professionals for good referrals.  Check with the state medical board to determine whether the doctor you’ve selected has had any disciplinary actions or has been sued for malpractice.

Cases in your backyard

Scott S. Harris, medical malpractice attorney in San Diego, handles San Diego medical malpractice cases and is committed to fighting for justice on behalf of victims of medical negligence from area hospitals including Scripps, Jacobs Medical Center, Sharp Memorial Hospital, and Kaiser Permanente. 

Contact our office to schedule a consultation.