When you seek out medical care, typically you place a lot of trust in your doctor and nurses. You trust their decisions, their knowledge and their experience. Unfortunately, medical professionals make mistakes, just like everyone else. Sometimes, they're small with minimal negative impact. Other times, what seems like a minor mistake can have catastrophic results for the patient involved.
That's why most doctors carry medical malpractice insurance. These policies protect doctors and medical facilities from financial liability when mistakes cause serious injuries for patients.
All kinds of medical mistakes happen. Sometimes, during surgery, a doctor can drop, forget, or lose an item. Sometimes, it's a sponge or a piece of gauze, which can quickly lead to infection after the surgery is completed.
Other times, it could be a watch or even a metal surgical tool. Nurses can mistakenly administer the wrong medication to a patient, resulting in an allergic reaction or a dangerous drug interaction. Sometimes, due to poor decision making, laziness, or other factors, nurses and doctors fail to adhere to best practices, using medications for unapproved purposes with dire results.
Patients deserve protection from medical mistakes
Whether you were receiving emergency trauma care or therapy for a chronic illness, you deserve to receive proper care from competent, compassionate, and attentive physicians and nurses. Medical staff should take great care to ensure your condition is properly diagnosed and carefully review your medical records before deciding on a course of action.
When they fail to do so, you are the one who ends up suffering, sometimes for long periods of time. Medical mistakes can result in undiagnosed conditions progressing or indirect bodily response to a wrong medication or surgical mistake.
Medical professionals are under a lot of pressure to see as many patients during a shift as possible. This makes it much easier for them to overlook critical information, even if it's written in your chart. While computerized medical record systems provide a secondary level of protection by alerting pharmacists about potential drug interactions or reminding medical staff of serious issues, like allergies, they are not infallible either. When medical professionals rely on these systems to catch mistakes, the patients can end up paying the price.
You shouldn't have to incur substantial medical expenses because of someone else's mistake. For many victims of medical mistakes, filing a medical malpractice claim may be the best option. Documenting your medical issues as a result of a mistake or failure to diagnose is wise. Ask for copies of your medical records from the facility and take written or recorded notes with dates and times of important medical events or conversations with nurses or doctors.