We trust physicians and other health care professionals implicitly. Unfortunately, this trust may have devastating consequences, when mistakes, oversights, and plain negligence come into play. But how often are patients truly affected by malpractice in a clinical setting? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical negligence is the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States today.
Although incidents of medical negligence occur with disturbing frequency, not every poor outcome represents malpractice.
Protect yourself against medical negligence
If you are uncertain whether your health care provider provided substandard care or acted with negligence, the best way to ascertain the truth is to work with an experienced law firm that can investigate your circumstances and situation. Medical malpractice lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman know what constitutes malpractice in New York and New Jersey, and provide staunch advocacy for victims. As a patient, you have a right to take legal action when a doctor’s actions or omissions caused pain, injury or death. Victims or their families can seek compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured, as well as lost income and other damages incurred.
There are a number of red flags and situations that may indicate the care you have received from your doctor or health care practitioner is below the standard of care. It’s important to recognize the signs of medical malpractice, so patients and their loved ones can reach out to a reputable attorney for sound legal advice.
While far from an exhaustive list, the following are signs you should watch out for.
Your condition deteriorates or fails to improve
If after getting a diagnosis and treatment your condition stays the same or continues to worsen over time, this may be a sign that something is amiss. A failure to get better doesn’t always mean malpractice occurred, but it’s worth investigating whether your condition was misdiagnosed or a surgical procedure was botched.
Lack of proper testing
In most cases, a doctor will perform a thorough physical exam and order a full spectrum of tests – be it X-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, CT scans or others – to confirm a diagnosis and eliminate others. If standard diagnostic tests were not ordered, or evaluated properly, and a suspected illness is not diagnosed in a timely manner, this could be the basis for a malpractice lawsuit.
Medication produces unwarranted side effects or does nothing
When patients are prescribed the wrong medication or incorrect doses, they are vulnerable to serious side effects and adverse complications. Not only is their illness not being treated, they are also put at risk for more problems. Furthermore, patients who receive the wrong drug may suffer harm from reactions with medications they are already taking.
You have two differing opinions from medical professionals
When handed a serious or potentially life-threatening medical diagnosis, like cancer or congestive heart failure, it’s crucial to get a second opinion from another medical professional. If the second doctor has a different diagnostic opinion, it is advisable to seek a third. In this way, you can better assess the accuracy and merit of your diagnosis.
A routine surgery ends in injury or death
When comedian and actress Joan Rivers suffered a fatal cardiac arrest during a routine medical procedure, her family sued and received a wrongful death settlement, after doctors conceded that protocols were violated. Even the slightest mistakes on the operating table can result in traumatic injury or death, giving rise to a valid claim for compensation.
Your concerns are not addressed
If your physician rushes you through the appointment, doesn’t ask questions or provide the answers and attention you need, this should raise a red flag. Ignoring your concerns does not constitute medical malpractice per se, but it can ultimately result in a delayed or incorrect diagnosis, especially if they do not order proper lab tests for your physical symptoms.
Whenever you doubt the quality or level of care provided by your doctor or surgeon, or believe that you have a valid case, you need to choose your legal counsel wisely. Look for medical malpractice lawyers who have substantial experience and the resources to pursue the full value of your claim.
Legal help is available
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is proud to represent families throughout New York and New Jersey whose lives have been negatively impacted because of medical negligence. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your losses, and the best way to do this is by partnering with an established law firm that is dedicated to your case.
Keep in mind there are strict time limitations for filing a lawsuit against a medical provider, facility or hospital. Call our offices today to schedule a free consultation with New York and New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers today.