Medical malpractice happens when doctors fail to provide the appropriate treatment and care to their patients, and that results in harming them. Any medical error can cause a wrong diagnosis, medication dosage, poor health management or aftercare. Most of the time, when health providers breach their duty of care, patients can sue them and get the compensation they deserve but are forever left with physical and psychological scars. In the following paragraphs, we’ll get more into the malpractice causes and solutions for patients, so keep reading.
An insight on medical negligence
The medical industry is tough, where only the best-prepared doctors are hired. Considering that some medical cases are truly complicated and there’s still to know about the human body, the person who will diagnose you should know how to treat you cautiously so that you’ll be properly recovering from any injuries you have. But it can’t happen all the time; one reason is that we’re all human and make mistakes, but sometimes the people behind the counter are not at all prepared for this career and, therefore, destroy people’s lives.
Let’s not forget about the last years, when the pandemic made people wonder if the virus was true or not. On top of that, some “doctors” spread fake news on the vaccine instead of helping people with the information and guiding them on how to protect their health. Some gave people “magic treatments” for curing the virus without fully understanding the pandemic.
But medical negligence can happen for reasons other than ignorance and fake doctors. Some of the most common situations of malpractice are:
- Misdiagnosis, when the medical staff wrongly assesses your condition and gives you the incorrect treatment;
- Surgical errors, when the doctor operated on the wrong part of your body or did an unnecessary surgery;
- Hospital-acquired infections that result from the poor condition in the hospital you’re treating. Some common infections include MRSA or enterococcal infections.
The consequences of malpractice
You’ve undoubtedly heard at some point in the news about malpractice cases when people’s conditions were worsened to the point nothing else was to be done. But there are plenty of consequences of medical negligence, and it includes physical and psychological damages that are not that easy to get over. Some examples include:
- Moderately Severe PTSD (it can be treated through years of therapy, medication and active monitoring. But the victim will experience nightmares, intrusive thoughts or hypervigilance for a long time).
- Total or partial blindness (vision impairment can be treated, but a person left completely blind after surgery will have to change their own life. That means they have to learn to read Braille, use a guide dog and get used to their daily limitations)
- Chest injuries (that sometimes lead to disabilities)
- Grand mal seizures (the patient will experience loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions often after medical negligence)
- Loss of one organ (not all of them are replaceable, and another surgery, for this matter, would take too much time to recover from the previous medical procedure)
- Infertility (depending on the situation, it can be receding or not)
Most of these situations can’t be reversed, and the patient remains traumatised for their whole life. This is only one effect of the wrong practices of medical institutions, and something should be done to improve the management system and better prepare the future medical generation.
How to make a medical negligence claim
The first thing to do is contact a professional solicitor to help you with the claiming process. Consider that you might sue doctors with the best lawyers possible, so dealing with the problem alone can be quite challenging. Only in the last two years, there was an increase of 7.5% of clinical negligence claims from the years before.
If you want a successful case, provide your solicitor with all the evidence that you can gather, like:
- Any form of written communication you had with your doctor (emails, phone messages)
- Medical records from the treatment received or proposed
- Prescriptions indicating the dosage you were given
- CCTV footage from the causing event or other circumstances leading to the negligence
Additionally, you can keep a diary of symptoms to keep track of the state of your health. All this information will help your advisor win your case. Although, if you’re uncertain of the success, you can make a No Win No Fee agreement, meaning that you won’t pay your solicitor’s services if they don’t win your case. And if they do, the percentage they’ll get is a small part of your compensation.
Regarding the compensation, it will be influenced by some factors, such as the type of injury you have, the gravity of the damage or the level of financial losses for recovering after the negligence. If you’re wondering how to calculate a compensation claim in the UK, most advisors provide a calculator on their website for clients to better understand their case.
Can you avoid such situations?
Can medical negligence be avoided? The short answer is yes. But it’s easier said than done. Preventing this can be made only by the doctors, meaning that they need to do their job perfectly, but also:
- Communicate with their patients to ensure that they avoid misunderstandings. Sometimes, doctors forget that people might not understand specific medical terms.
- Document the whole process. This can also help doctors gather their thoughts on the surgery they have to do.
- Get informed consent when consulting patients or making decisions for them.
- Be honest with their patients and be straightforward about what they can or can’t do.
Other than that, there’s a need for change in the whole medical industry. Bribery is still practised, and some doctors will do about any surgery for a good amount of money. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Finally, what you can do as a patient is carefully choose the doctors you will see. Look only for certified people with real clients and reviews, and don’t fall into the trap of cheap prices regarding operations or treatments. Remember this: better safe than sorry!