Most people do not really question their doctor’s recommendations or the treatments they give them. They trust that their doctors know what they are doing and which treatments will make them better. However, what do you do if your doctor makes a mistake and you receive improper medical treatment?
If you suspect a mistake with your treatment caused your medical condition or injuries, call a local medical malpractice lawyer to review your situation and explain your rights. You may qualify to file a claim to recover compensation for damages. If you reside in or near Silver Spring, you can call DuBoff & Associates, Chartered at 301-495-3131 and speak to a lawyer about your case, free of charge.
What is “improper treatment”?
The statistics regarding medical mistakes in America are pretty alarming. As many as 400,000 patients die and as many as eight million suffer serious harm as a result of preventable medical errors each year, according to a study in a 2013 issue of the Journal of Patient Safety. Improper treatments, a type of medical mistake, can wind up causing people serious or fatal harm.
Improper treatment differs from mistakes such as a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. With diagnosis errors, doctors might incorrectly diagnose patients, order wrong tests, or fail to give a timely diagnosis. With improper treatments, on the other hand, the doctor has correctly diagnosed the problem, but fails to give the patient the right treatment for her condition. Some examples of improper diagnosis include:
- Prescribing a medication that may cause dangerous interactions with other medications the patient is taking, is in the wrong dose, or to which the patient has a known allergy.
- Recommending unnecessary surgery, delaying necessary surgery, or rushing surgery.
- Failing to prevent a disease, such as when a doctor fails to treat the patient with antibiotics prior to surgery.
- Recommending a dangerous treatment without explaining the patient’s alternative treatments.
Of course, a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis could lead to improper treatment. If a doctor wrongly diagnoses schizophrenia as depression, for instance, then the doctor will order incorrect and problematic treatment.
Determining the root cause of the mistake can be very complicated. It will usually take both a legal and medical expert to get to the bottom of the case.
Does my case qualify for a medical malpractice claim?
Receiving improper treatment can lead to health complications and require you to undergo additional treatments to correct the mistake—not to mention the fact that you will still need the correct treatment for your original medical condition. Patients in this type of situation might find themselves swimming in debt from medical bills, which they cannot pay because they are unable to work due to their condition. Oftentimes, patients must put their entire life on hold to deal with someone else’s mistake.
This is why it is so important to look into your legal options. If your situation meets certain conditions, you might be able to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit against the appropriate party and obtain compensation for your expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, etc.
Not all treatment mistakes are malpractice. In order for the improper treatment to constitute malpractice, the following elements must be true.
- Negligence – Your doctor made a mistake that was in breach of the normal standard of care doctors must provide. In other words, he or she made a mistake with your treatment that other doctors in the same position would not have made.
- Causation – The improper treatment your doctor gave you was the cause of your injury, i.e., you would not have suffered harm if not for your doctor’s negligence.
- Damages – You sustained actual harm and damages because of the mistake.
If your case meets the above stipulations, it is quite likely that you qualify to file a claim to recover damages.
What are the first steps to pursuing compensation for my injuries?
The first step to securing compensation for improper treatment is to have a medical malpractice attorney review your case and determine liability. Your lawyer will be able to tell you if your case qualifies, what types of evidence to start collecting, and the next steps to take in the legal process.
In the interim, you can start keeping a journal to document your condition, your treatments, and how the whole situation is affecting your everyday life. Save all of your receipts and bills related to your injury to share with your lawyer, too. All of these things are compensable on medical malpractice claims.
Does DuBoff & Associates, Chartered accept improper medical treatment cases?
Our team at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered has handled all types of medical malpractice cases in Silver Spring and throughout Maryland for over 30 years, including those related to improper treatments. Contact us today at 301-495-3131 for a free case evaluation.