July Is Medical Malpractice Awareness Month
Medical Malpractice Is a Leading Cause of Death
Although many people do not realize it, medical malpractice is a silent killer here in the United States: According to a 2016 Johns Hopkins study published in the British Medical Journal, medical error is currently the third leading cause of death among American adults. To shed light on this important issue, the National Medical Malpractice Advocacy Association or NMMAA has designated the month of July as Medical Malpractice Awareness Month. As one of the leading medical malpractice firms in the country, The Beasley Firm is committed to spreading awareness about this important issue – and in this post, we’ll review some of the ways you can identify medical negligence.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice isn’t always easy for victims to identify, as patients are reliant on the specialized knowledge and experience of their healthcare professionals. Of course, that is exactly what makes the problem so dangerous. While providers are not expected to be perfect, their actions may be considered medical malpractice if they cause injuries after violating the “standard of care,” which means the care you would expect to receive from a reasonable provider under similar circumstances. Those who fail to observe this standard can and should be held accountable in the civil justice system.
Some common forms of medical malpractice include:
- Failure to diagnose or inaccurate diagnosis
- Anesthesia and prescription drug errors
- Healthcare-acquired infections
- Surgical malpractice
- “Never events” like bedsores and wrong-site surgeries
- Birth and pregnancy-related injuries
- Lab and test result errors
- Emergency room malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Despite spending more on healthcare than virtually any other country on Earth, the United States has serious gaps in quality of care, ranking last among high-income countries for factors like access, equity, and healthcare outcomes. Although it’s estimated that around 1 in 100 patients will be seriously injured or killed as a result of pervasive medical malpractice, however, only 2.9% of all victims file claims – and 80% of these claims result in no payment for the injury victim or their surviving families.
How Can I Identify Medical Malpractice?
If you suspect that you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, it can feel overwhelming to take action and seek the compensation that you deserve. At The Beasley Firm, we’ve won some of the largest medical malpractice jury verdicts in Pennsylvania, and our Firm has been aggressively representing individuals against the strongest defendants for over 60 years. Recognized as one of 2020’s “Best Law Firms” for personal injury litigation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®, we can help you determine when you are entitled to damages after a medical error.
Here are a few of our recommendations for identifying medical malpractice when it happens:
- Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor detailed questions about your lab results, diagnosis, treatment, and every other aspect of the medical process. If your doctor refuses to answer these questions in good faith or does not treat your issues with urgency, they may ultimately share some of the liability for serious injuries.
- Keep a record of everything. When you suspect that medical malpractice has happened to you or a family member, you should request your full medical record from each healthcare provider you visit. Under HIPAA, healthcare providers are obligated to supply you with this information. You should also keep your own records about the care you have received.
- Seek out second opinions. In general, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion whenever you are dealing with a life-threatening condition, illness, or injury. If you suspect that your doctor was rushed or that your issues are not being addressed, contacting a second physician can help to validate your concerns and empower you to get better care.
Do you have more questions about medical malpractice claims? Contact our attorneys today at (215) 866-2424 to schedule a free consultation.