Unfortunately, medical malpractice still occurs far too frequently in the United States. Indeed, The Washington Post recently reported on a study that found that medical negligence is the third-leading cause of death in our country.
Clearly, doctors, nurses and hospitals all must do more to protect the well-being of patients. One promising method that would help to achieve the goal of reducing medical malpractice risks is advanced skills training.
To understand how, it is necessary to understand what medical malpractice is and why it occurs.
Why Does Medical Malpractice Occur?
Medical professionals have a legal obligation to provide their patients with adequate care. The failure to live up to that legal obligation is negligence, or medical malpractice.
Medical negligence comes in a wide variety of forms. Doctors, nurses and hospitals may all potentially be liable for negligence that leads to a malpractice lawsuit.
In some cases, medical malpractice takes place because the professionals involved are not properly prepared for a given situation. In other cases, malpractice happens because doctors or nurses feel rushed and try to take short cuts. Specific examples of medical malpractice include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Surgical errors
- Medication-related errors
- Hospital negligence.
How Can Advanced Skills Training Help?
Providing high-quality medical treatment is not purely intuitive. Medical professionals are only as good as their training. Further, medical training must be an ongoing process. The simple fact is that science is constantly advancing forward, and ideas within the field are always changing.
Every year, many new diagnostic techniques and treatments are developed. Doctors and nurses must stay up to date on all of the advances within their profession. The medical strategies that worked 20 years ago may no longer be the best available practices today.
Patients have a legal right to receive medical treatment that is consistent with the current best practices. If doctors and nurses fail to provide this treatment, they are putting the health and safety of patients at an avoidable risk.
Is Advancing Skills Especially Important for Diagnosing Conditions?
A proper diagnosis can save a patient’s life. Unfortunately, medical professionals may fail to make an adequate diagnosis even when they have the tools at hand to do so.
In fact, a study reported by LiveScience found that the failure to make correct and timely diagnoses is the most common reason why doctors are sued for medical malpractice. This is where advanced skills training can make the biggest impact.
Most medical conditions can be treated much more effectively if they are caught early on. For example, catching cancer early will dramatically increase a patient’s chance of making a full recovery.
However, delayed diagnosis of cancer remains a major problem. Medical professionals need to advance their ability to diagnose cancer and other medical conditions as early as possible.
With the advanced skills to make a proper early diagnosis, not only will doctors be able to reduce their risk of facing a medical malpractice claim, but more importantly, they will be able to save lives.
Were You a Victim of Medical Malpractice in New York?
Medical malpractice claims are extremely complex. As such, it is normal to be unsure if you were actually a victim. If you suffered an injury or medical complications while in the hospital, or if you believe that a medical professional gave you any form of substandard treatment, you owe it to yourself and to your family to have your case investigated.
The following is a list of the four things you should do next.
Document your treatment.
To pursue a medical malpractice claim, you will need supporting evidence. If you suspect that you have been a victim of medical negligence, you need to begin documenting your claim and securing any records related to your treatment.
You should take notes about your condition and what you have been told by the medical professionals and healthcare providers responsible for your care. You should document everything as you never know what will be useful in the future.
Question your doctor.
In New York, patients have a right to “informed consent.” Medical professionals must adequately inform patients regarding the nature and extent of their treatment so that patients can make their own educated decisions.
Take advantage of this legal right by asking your doctor questions throughout the process. Your doctor has a duty to answer your questions honestly and in detail.
Seek a second opinion.
You also have a right to seek a second opinion regarding your medical treatment. If something feels wrong, do not hesitate to get the opinion of a second doctor.
You are not obligated to tell the other doctor that you suspect that you have been a victim of medical malpractice. Indeed, you are able to seek a second opinion merely for your own information.
Consult with a medical malpractice lawyer.
An experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to review your case and assess whether you should move forward in the legal process.
If you have a viable claim, your lawyer will be able to comprehensively investigate the actions of all medical professionals and healthcare providers involved in your case.
Then, your lawyer will determine precisely what needs to be done to protect your legal rights and financial interests. As a medical malpractice victim, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our New York attorneys have handled many medical malpractice cases. We can help you seek a just recovery.
To learn more about what our team can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact our office today to request your free initial case evaluation. We represent medical malpractice victims throughout Upstate New York, including in Albany and Syracuse.