Medical malpractice occurs when a physician or a healthcare provider exhibits certain behaviors or actions that result in injury or harm to a patient that could have been otherwise avoided. Medical malpractice may result from intentional wrongdoing but may also stem from extreme negligence or omission of details — such as a physician not referring their patient to a specialist.
While doctors and healthcare providers are held to high standards, medical malpractice still occurs. Sometimes spotting the signs of medical malpractice is accessible within the first few days or weeks after visiting your healthcare provider. Other times, however, spotting medical malpractice is harder. So first, we’ll break down five common signs of medical malpractice.
- Worsening Health
Not all treatments are effective, and a good physician will inform their patient of the success rate of their treatment — whether it be medication, surgery, etc. Unfortunately, despite a doctor’s best efforts, a patient’s condition may worsen after treatment. However, sometimes the reason for this is due to medical malpractice. Two major contributing factors can be:
- Misdiagnosis: A doctor may misdiagnose a patient leading to the wrong treatment.
- Delayed diagnosis: A delayed diagnosis can result in a patient not receiving treatment promptly, leading to worsening health.
- Your Surgery Went Wrong
All surgeries carry an inherent risk, and no surgeon will have a 100% success rate, especially for very intensive surgical procedures. However, some surgery mistakes or errors go beyond the assumed risks. Examples might include:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Performing unnecessary surgical operations
- Leaving foreign objects in a patient’s body, such as sponges or gauze
- Your Medical History Wasn’t Taken Into Account
Failure to take a patient’s medical or family’s medical history into account is common with medication errors. For example, an allergy or aversion to a specific type of medication prescribed can significantly harm a patient. If there was something in your medical history that wasn’t taken into account when prescribing treatment, then you have a strong case for medical malpractice.
- The Facility is Understaffed
Understaffing is a massive problem in nursing care facilities but can also carry over to facilities like hospitals. An understaffed medical facility means patients might not receive adequate treatment due to their staff being overworked and distressed.
Understaffing issues may also quickly hire under-experienced staff members to fill in the gaps and pinpoint other issues like defective medical equipment. These problems result in neglected patients not receiving proper medical care.
- A Doctor Doesn’t Listen to a Patient’s Input
A patient and a doctor should always be on the same page, and a patient shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or voice any concerns. A patient may not have a medical degree, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know when something’s wrong with their body or if a treatment isn’t feeling effective. A patient and doctor relationship should be a partnership of mutual respect. A doctor ignoring a patient’s request for running tests, checking if their treatment is working, reviewing their medical history, etc., may result in serious issues.