A spinal cord injury is a disastrous turn of events no matter how it happens, but those that result from medical malpractice are particularly painful. It’s alarming enough when an accident of some kind causes you or someone you love to deal with the debilitating reality of a spinal cord injury. However, when a medical professional you trust to provide quality care actually winds up doing serious harm, it feels like a betrayal of the worst kind.
You’re then left with a condition entirely due not to some fault of your own or even some cruel twist of fate but because your faith in the medical community was misplaced.
Medical Malpractice Defined
Before you consider whether medical malpractice was involved in your injury, let’s go a bit more in-depth on what that term entails. “Medical malpractice” pertains to any incident in which a healthcare professional or medical provider demonstrates negligence in their treatment of a patient. In some cases, this may result in a specific injury -- such as a spinal cord injury -- with the emergence of a condition that did not previously exist or even the death of the patient in question.
The law dictates that patients who have legitimate medical malpractice claims then have the right to pursue financial compensation for the wrongdoing they’ve endured, whether it was a poor decision by the medical community or simply failure to act. Misdiagnosis, improper medication dosage or other medical errors may all be the root cause of malpractice, the laws of which often vary from one nation to the next. In some instances, healthcare professionals or institutions may be not be liable for damage experienced by patients.
Signs You Have a Valid Case
Because the question of what constitutes legitimate medical malpractice can be a difficult one to answer, it’s necessary to go into some detail regarding telltale signs that you may be the subject of a valid case. For example, let’s discuss some of the fundamental elements that must be demonstrated during legal action to establish proof of wrongdoing on the part of the medical professional or institution.
Firstly, you must have a documented and proven doctor-patient relationship for your malpractice claim to hold water. This demonstrates that any quantifiable damages can be traced back to the fact that you were under a specific individual’s care as part of an existing arrangement.
Next, the patient must illustrate the particular action (or lack thereof) that resulted in harm and how it failed to meet agreed-upon standards of medical care.
Finally, you need to provide evidence to support the causal connection between this pre-existing medical relationship’s care and the harm that was inflicted as a result.
Once you have a clear idea that malpractice was involved, there are certain steps you should take to start building a case. Here are some of the easiest ways to start taking action even before you contact an attorney.
- Document everything: In order to build a case, you’ll need all the supporting documentation you can get your hands on. Start recording all the details of your visits and the care you receive, including dates, times, names and any specific advice you receive.
- Question your doctor: As the patient, it is your right to know precisely what is going on with your health. When something goes awry, don’t be afraid to demand answers from your medical team. Even if you have to be persistent with your doctor, do it. Remember, they are supposed to be providing you with quality care, and that includes updating you on your condition and their course of action for treatment.
- Request medical records: Whether you’re planning a malpractice suit or not, you should always keep a copy of your medical records on hand. Not only will they be invaluable to building a case, it’s a smart way to take ownership of your health and empower yourself to reference your medical history as well as change your care provider in the future. Be sure you get your hands on all X-rays and other documents that may require additional action to acquire.
Time to Take Action
If you suspect you have been the victim of medical malpractice, don’t wait another moment to contact a spinal cord injury lawyer. After all, time is a factor in any potential rehabilitation from a spinal cord injury, and you may be able to seek financial restitution for the injustice you suffered at the hands of your doctor.
Certainly, a bit of assistance with the mounting medical bills that have resulted from your condition is the very least you deserve for what you’ve been through. So reach out to an attorney today to explore the possibility that you may have a solid medical malpractice case on your hands.
Written by Spinal Cord TeamSpinalCord.com has been created as a resource for patients of spinal cord injuries and their families. Find everything you need to learn more about your injury, locate a doctor or treatment center, or discover financial relief to support you through this difficult time.
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