People seek medical care in order to feel better, not worse. Most patients get the quality of care they rightfully expect. But not all of them. Sometimes healthcare providers make preventable mistakes that leave patients worse-off. Generally speaking, that is what lawyers call “medical malpractice”, which we explain in this guide.
The idea that a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional might commit an error does not sit well. We hold healthcare workers in high regard these days, and for good reason. They have extensive training, commit their careers to healing others, and recently have put their own lives at risk to serve patients sick with COVID-19. Still, medical providers are also human beings. They mess up from time-to-time, but unfortunately, unlike most people, their mistakes and errors have the potential to have severe, even fatal, health consequences for a patient.
The only way to protect yourself entirely from medical errors and mistakes is never to see a doctor, which is obviously not a good idea. However, as a patient who seeks medical care, you can reduce your risks by treating medical providers as the fallible human beings they are, and by advocating for yourself or your loved one in every healthcare setting.
Medical professionals make dangerous mistakes for many of the same reasons we all do. They get tired, stressed, and overworked. Lines of communication break down with their co-workers. They do not listen when they should. They act on faulty information.
As a grounding for learning how to protect yourself from harmful medical errors, here is a sampling of some of the most common scenarios that lead to injuries and medical malpractice lawsuits:
These are just a few examples of the ways that mistakes happen in a healthcare setting. All represent a lapse in the minimum “standard of care” that medical professionals have a duty to provide to at every hospital and medical service facility in Maryland. Any of them can result in tragic harm, including brain injuries and birth injuries.
To keep yourself as safe as possible from the risk of medical error in a Maryland healthcare setting, avoid the instinct to put doctors and other healthcare professionals on a pedestal. They make mistakes just like anyone else. You can help them avoid those errors, and minimize the danger to you, by:
These specific tips reflect a broader principle that all patients and their trusted “advocates” should take to heart: in a healthcare setting, nothing is more important than the patient’s health. It trumps every other consideration for the doctors, nurses, and the patient. Which means, if you feel you need to share or obtain information relevant to patient safety with a healthcare worker, then you must do so, even if it makes you feel impolite or pushy or annoying to others. We do not mean you should get yourself thrown out of a facility for being a dangerous nuisance, of course. But, we do mean you should not feel afraid to insist on someone hearing the information you have to share, and on getting clear answers to all of your questions, even if that makes you the patient everyone thinks is a “pain” in the you-know-what.
The team at D’Amore Personal Injury Law, LLC has years of experience representing Maryland residents, workers, and visitors who have suffered injuries because of medical mistakes and errors. Contact us today to learn about your rights to compensation after a medical error leads to a harmful health outcome, particularly one related to COVID-19.
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When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, your world could be turned upside down. You deserve compensation from them,