Most people trust the medical professionals who treat them. After all, doctors receive extensive education, training, and on-the-job experience before being turned loose to treat patients on their own. Yet, despite their credentials, even the most reputable medical professionals can make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are egregious and sometimes they’re purely accidental, but none of them are acceptable. If you’ve been harmed by a medical error, then you need to think about your options for finding accountability and compensation for your damages.
Failure to diagnose is far too common
Despite the knowledge accumulated by the medical profession and the technology at its disposal, failures to diagnose are all too common. In fact, one study estimates that diagnostic errors affect 12 million people every year, killing as many as 80,000 of them. Surely, then, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of people are harmed by these errors. They may suffer new injuries, a worsened medical condition, or a worse prognosis that forever changes their lives.
Why diagnostic errors occur
A number of factors can contribute to diagnostic errors. Fatigue, distraction, high case loads, poor time management, and even equipment issues can lead to harmful mistakes. These problems can cause a doctor to fail in his duty to perform a thorough assessment of a patient, including ordering and properly interpreting test results. Sometimes doctors are simply incompetent and thus unable to make accurate diagnoses even when all the information they need is right in front of them.
Proving medical malpractice
Proving medical malpractice requires you to gather and persuasively present evidence showing that your medical professional deviated from the applicable standard of care. So, while you’ll need medical records, a doctor’s history of discipline, and witness testimony to support a showing of negligence, you’ll also need evidence to set what the applicable standard of care should be. This is a big issue that will be addressed at a later time on the blog. What you need to know now is that if you’ve been hurt by a medical professional’s error, then you might benefit from having an experienced attorney by your side.