Do you feel overwhelmed and helpless every time you go to the doctor?
Have your symptoms worsened or pain increased after your doctor diagnosed and prescribed you medication?
If you believe that you may have suffered consequences of medical malpractice in Washington D.C., you’re not alone. On average, medical negligence occurs once a day in every D.C. hospital. Most of the time these instances only temporarily prolong a diagnosis; however, in more severe cases they can cause irrevocable physical harm.
Washington D.C. defines medical malpractice as any substandard care or errors made by a doctor, hospital or HMO. This includes:
- Prescribing the wrong medication, or medication that interferes with your current medication
- Surgical mistakes, such as operating in the wrong place, leaving foreign objects within the body, etc.
- Miscommunication between doctor, patient, or staff resulting in harm
- Patient abuse
- Confidentiality breaches
Although there are many different scenarios that can be considered medical malpractice, they all stem from mistakes made by doctors or hospitals that a majority of other medical professionals would not make. Therefore, if your doctor diagnosed your symptoms as a cold when you really had allergies, this doesn’t necessarily mean he has committed malpractice since the symptoms are similar and may be hard to differentiate. However, if he misdiagnosed cancer as being a cold, which resulted in prolonged harm or death, it would be considered negligence.
The consequences of medical malpractice can vary from merely having a few extra sick days to severe emotional, psychological, and physical harm, or in extreme cases even death. However, there are ways you can guard yourself against potential mistakes. Although most malpractice incidents are caused by human error, you can help fight against them by making sure you are open and honest with your physician.
- Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel confident about the diagnosis.
- Provide him with an accurate list of all your medications, including over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies.
- Research at home to make sure you understand the medical issues and symptoms so you can ask questions.
- Make sure you and your doctor have your up-to-date and accurate medical history documented
- Be open to him about your concerns, and ask about possible problems that may come up
Providing information and questions to your physician will limit any confusion going forward. However, even when you do everything you can to make sure all information is correct, human error can still cause harm.
If you feel that you or a loved one was a victim of medical negligence, you should not—and need not—go through it alone. The D.C. medical malpractice lawyers at Shevlin Smith know how difficult it can be to get answers from hospitals. That is why we offer free consultations to discuss your case to provide answers to any questions you may have about medical malpractice and its consequences. Let us help you, by calling us at 703.591.0067.