You may be under the mistaken impression that only doctors can commit medical malpractice. This is not true; all health care providers have the potential to commit malpractice, including nurses, technicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, etc. In addition to individual practitioners, clinics and hospitals can commit medical malpractice as well, sometimes by hiring staff that is not up to par.
Malpractice is a medical mistake, but not all medical mistakes constitute malpractice. As a layperson, it can be difficult to tell the difference. However, there are warning signs to watch for. If any of the following are present, the matter warrants further investigation at the very least.
1. Understaffing at the Health Care Facility
Understaffing is not malpractice in itself. However, personnel who are frazzled and overworked may be more likely to make a medical error. An accident or injury that happens in this type of environment should be examined carefully to determine if there is a connection between the two.
2. Second and Third Opinions
If you ever receive a diagnosis or recommendation that troubles you, it is a good idea to seek a second opinion. If you still have doubts after receiving a different second opinion, a third opinion to confirm which is more correct may be helpful. If the second and third opinions are in agreement, the question becomes why the first doctor gave a different one. It may be an indication of error.
3. Lack of Attention From Your Doctor
Have you ever gotten the feeling that you’ve inconvenienced your doctor by asking health questions and/or seeking treatment? If so, this reflects more poorly on the doctor than on you. You have the right to your doctor’s undivided attention during your visit. A doctor who fails to give it may be more likely to make mistakes in the future or to have made them in the past.
4. Basic Lab Tests Used To Diagnose Serious Condition
Diagnosis of a serious disease or condition often requires more than one type of test to confirm. Examples include imaging, blood testing, and urinalysis. You don’t necessarily need to receive every type of diagnostic testing, but a responsible physician will likely give you more than one before providing a conclusive diagnosis.
5. Treatment Doesn’t Seem To Fit or Doesn’t Work
Medical treatments are not always effective, but sometimes it turns out that a treatment doesn’t work because it’s for the wrong condition. You always have the right to ask questions about the appropriateness of the treatment you’re receiving.
These signs are not necessarily malpractice in themselves, but they are warning signs that you may be at risk of harm due to the negligence of a health care provider. If you believe you may have grounds to sue for medical malpractice, contact a lawyer for more information.