Any doctor who is willing to be honest and personally vulnerable will admit that there are many ways that treatment can take an ugly turn due to human error. While the medical community has made amazing advances in the last several decades, medical personnel are still only people, and people inevitably make mistakes.
Unfortunately, medical mistakes can lead to serious injury for patients, creating a huge strain on their entire support system. For those whose parents have been hurt by malpractice, it is vital to help the ones you love by fighting for justice for these harms.
Broadly speaking, most medical malpractice falls into the categories of either misdiagnosis or erroneous treatment (assuming that a doctor or other medical personnel is not intentionally bringing harm to a patient). If you believe that your parent may have suffered from harmful medical practices, an understanding of these categories can help you evaluate his or her experience. Then, you can determine how you might move forward with a personal injury or malpractice claim.
Delayed diagnosis versus inaccurate diagnosis
There are two primary ways that doctors may be culpable for their diagnoses. The most direct way is simply by failing to correctly diagnose an ailment, and thereby prescribing an incorrect treatment. When this happens, the patient may experience further harm from the ailment itself, or possibly even get harmed by effects of the poorly-prescribed treatment.
Another component of a harmful diagnosis is when a doctor fails to diagnose the ailment in a timely manner. For many patients, weeks, days or even hours endured without correct treatment can result in needless suffering, permanent harm or even death.
If, for instance, your parent is suffering from a quickly-metastasizing form of cancer and their doctor does not diagnose it and prescribe treatment within a reasonable timeframe, the cancer may spread. This delay can wind up causing your parent greater harm or even an untimely death, when a quicker diagnosis could have avoided those consequences.
The wrong treatment can be worse than no treatment at all
Erroneous treatments can be just as harmful as other forms of malpractice. This can occur if a doctor prescribes a treatment incorrectly, or when other medical personnel provide treatment incorrectly. Because there many links in the chain of medical care rendered to patients, erroneous treatment has many opportunities to occur.
A doctor may erroneously prescribe a treatment for an illness other than the condition from which your parent is actually suffering. Alternatively, some medical staff person further down the food chain may misinterpret the treatment orders, e.g., a doctor prescribes a certain regimen of drugs at a pharmacy. Even if the doctor has done everything right, the pharmacist may misread the prescription and fill the wrong medication for your parent. This could lead to serious health complications or death.
Each case deserves to be evaluated on its own merits
Like snowflakes and playoff games, no two cases of medical malpractice are exactly alike, and therefore cannot be judged uniformly. If you believe that your mom or dad may have suffered from some form of medical malpractice, it is important to pursue justice in the most efficient way.
The guidance of an experienced attorney can help you understand the nuances of the experience and the many laws and standards that may dictate how to proceed. You attorney can also ensure that your rights and the right of the parent you love remain protected throughout the legal process.