Not long ago, Johns Hopkins University conducted a study that found that medical errors account for approximately 10% of the total number of deaths experienced in the United States. Based on that data, more than 250,000 people die because of medical malpractice on an annual basis. In addition, many others are injured. With such a high rate of medical malpractice in the country, you or someone you know may eventually become a victim. Here are five steps that you should take if you ever are negatively impacted by medical malpractice.

Search For A Different Doctor

The minute that you suspect you have been misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly, you should begin searching for a new doctor. By seeking out medical attention as quickly as possible, you may be able to limit the damage caused by the doctor’s mistake. Your new doctor will probably need to take a look at your medical records. They also may need to conduct additional tests prior to making a diagnosis. Once they have a better idea of what is going on with your body, they can begin taking steps to get your health back on track. In the case of an incorrect treatment, they can address any health complications resulting from the error. In the event of a misdiagnosis, on the other hand, they can come up with an accurate diagnosis and begin treating the condition that you sought medical attention for in the first place.

Get Copies Of Your Medical Records

After connecting with the new doctor, you should also request your medical records. It is essential to have these records before filing a medical malpractice claim. Put in your request as quickly as you can after the incident. The records will clearly document your symptoms, your past medical history, the diagnostic tests used by the original doctor, and the type of medication or treatment that they provided. A lot of times, this information is enough to build a medical malpractice case against a doctor.

Imagine, for instance, that you started feeling a sharp pain in your chest and went to the emergency room. In your medical record, it clearly shows that you have a family history of heart problems. Still, the doctor refused to test whether or not you were experiencing a heart attack. Instead, they told you that you were suffering from anxiety. If you find out that you actually did have a heart attack at a later date, your medical records can help prove the negligence of the doctor by showing that they didn’t take your medical history into account.

Ideally, you should obtain these records before you go through with filing a claim. That way, there is less likelihood that the doctor will change the information in your record. Even though falsely altering medical records is against the law, some doctors do it anyway if they fear a medical malpractice claim.

Keep A Journal

If you believe your doctor made an error in their diagnosis or treatment, begin tracking your health in a journal or diary. Each day, write down any symptoms resulting from the doctor’s error. Try to get across exactly how much the error has affected your day-to-day life. For instance, if the error forced you to miss work, record this information. Make a point of journaling on a daily basis so that you can clearly track how the error made by the doctor has impacted every aspect of your life. If you do wind up filing a medical malpractice claim, you can use your journal as evidence.

Get Legal Help

The laws surrounding medical malpractice are extremely complicated according to Thomas Law Offices. Because of that, you should never try to act as your own lawyer. Instead, you should always use a qualified personal injury attorney. Make sure that the attorney has experience working on medical malpractice claims. Set up a consultation to talk about your case so that you can get a better feel for whether or not they are the person you want to hire. During your consultation, you can also get answers to any questions that you may have about your situation.

During your meeting with the attorney, be sure to explain your situation in detail. Even things that don’t seem like they really matter may have a major bearing on your case. Bring along any documentation that you have including your daily journal and your medical records. With this information, the attorney can then begin looking into your situation further to determine whether or not you have a valid case. Be prepared to provide additional information if the attorney requests it. One of the major benefits of working with an attorney is that you can shift your attention to healing rather than trying to deal with the legal issues on your own.

Don’t Talk To The Doctor Or Healthcare Provider

Stop all contact with the doctor or with employees at the medical office where the event took place. Instead, leave all communications to your attorney. Avoid making threats or letting them know that you plan on filing a claim. Don’t post anything about your case on your social media accounts, either. Information that is posted online always has a way of coming out, even if you have strict privacy settings on your social media accounts.

In some cases, the insurance company of the doctor or healthcare provider may try to reach out to you after you file a claim. Always direct them to contact your attorney instead. Never talk to them about your case. If they ask you any questions, tell them your attorney will be happy to help them. Insurance adjusters will often try to get people to say things that can be used against them in court. That is why all communication should be handled by your attorney.

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