Oftentimes, there is little a patient can do to avoid the imposition of medical malpractice or negligence. Negligence can come in many forms- from common human error to unethical practices intended to profit from Medicare fraud to overly-eager diagnosis. Many of these mistakes are commonly made while a patient is under heavy sedation and unable to speak up for his or her patient rights and wishes. However, in some cases, it is possible to insert yourself into the healthcare and treatment conversation as it relates to your own body — and this could help avoid disastrous consequences down the road. If you are undergoing medical treatments or preparing for an upcoming surgery, you have the right to dictate certain aspects of your care, as well as the right to make informed decisions about your course of treatment.
Possible Wrong Turns May Lead to Tragedy
One common cause of medical malpractice, which perchance may be avoided by asking tough questions, involves medical misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. There are often several layers of medical professionals involved in any diagnosis, including the workers at the laboratory, those interpreting blood work results, doctors, nurses and ultrasound technicians. With the number of people involved surrounding a single patient’s testing and diagnosis, it is entirely possible – and common – for test results to be wrongfully attributed to a patient who either does not suffer from what the results show or, in fact, has a serious condition that is not show on his lab results.
In turn, a misdiagnosis can lead to the doctor ordering the wrong treatment for the patient which, at best, does nothing to help his true condition or, at worst, hastens his illness or injury. In order to prevail in a medical malpractice action based on misdiagnosis, the plaintiff patient must generally prove three elements: (i) a doctor-patient relationship existed, thereby creating a duty of care; (ii) the doctor’s actions were not that of a reasonable, careful doctor under the same or similar circumstances, and; (iii) the doctor’s action, or inaction, caused the patient a resulting injury.
How to Advocate for Yourself as a Patient
You are your best advocate. While we all hope we can trust the advice of our doctors and nurses, reports show that wrongful and delayed diagnosis is one of the most common causes of malpractice payouts, and could be avoided by seeking a second opinion from another physician or specialist. If you are concerned about your test results or believe that the doctor’s findings do not align with your symptoms, seeking the advice of another is the best possible way to ensure you receive adequate and timely treatment.
What to do in the Event of a Misdiagnosis
Finding out you were misdiagnosed may be one of the most difficult moments of your life. You may feel betrayed, deceived or violated – especially if you received unnecessary invasive surgery. Once you are able to emotionally handle the thought of pursuing your legal rights, you should meet with a personal injury attorney right away to discuss your options under California’s medical malpractice laws. For more information, contact attorney Nelson C. Barry right away.