Posted by Bill Sandweg on 17 December 2018.
While sometimes it may be obvious that you have been the victim of medical malpractice, most times it will not be clear at all. The obvious times involve the kinds of mistakes that can’t be swept under the rug. They involve mistakes such as operating on the wrong side, operating at the wrong level, operating on the wrong patient, wrong medications, etc. You get the idea. Everything else will usually be explained as just a bad result that occurred in spite of the excellent care you received.
So how do you know if you were the victim of malpractice? Here are some suggestions.
Did something unexpected happen or was your injury something they told you was one of the risks? If what happened to you was unexpected, that is a strong reason to consider that you may have been the victim of malpractice. Even if what happened to you was one of the possible outcomes you had been warned about does not mean that your injury was not the result of malpractice. When they tell you that your injury was just one of those things, don’t just accept what you are told as being the truth without giving it some thought.
Did you notice a change in the way you were treated by your health care providers after your injury? Were there long periods when you found it hard to get information or answers about what happened to you? Were the answers you got consistent or did they contradict each other? Did the story keep changing? Did it appear that some providers were blaming others for what happened? Did it appear that any of the doctors or nurses were mad about what happened to you? Did they stop talking to you in the way they did before? Sometimes, when the providers know that there has been malpractice, they will try to avoid discussing the issue with the patient. They may even begin avoiding the patient to the extent possible.
Is there a nurse or health care worker who seems particularly empathetic? Sometimes you can ask a caring person like this what happened and they will tell you or suggest you contact a lawyer.
Use the internet. There is likely a lot of information out there about the injury you suffered. You can read about it and it may help you figure out what happened or at least suggest questions you should be asking.
Get your medical records and review them to the extent you are able. You may find clues in the medical records to explain what happened. Watch for the times of events. Was there a long delay anywhere? Were there times when the nurses could not reach the doctors? Were critical test results promptly reported to the doctors? Did the doctors promptly respond to critical information?
Ask your neighbors. Most of us have a neighbor or friend who works in health care. That person may be a good resource. They can often tell you whether what happened to you sounds like a problem or not.
Finally, if after all that you still have questions, call an experienced malpractice lawyer. Every experienced malpractice lawyer will have professional staff who know what to look for and can ask the questions that may indicate the presence of malpractice.
I hope you are never the victim of medical malpractice, but, if you are, we are here to answer your questions.