Recognizing medical malpractice when it happens to you or a family member can be challenging. Much like the laws that govern traffic court are in place to regulate driver’s behavior on the road, rules are in place to guide the actions of medical professionals. To know you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, you’ve got to know the rules of the road.
Malpractice is when a medical provider is negligent in the care provided such that it results in injury or death. It happens more than you think. According to John Hopkins University, medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., causing a staggering 250,000 deaths annually.
With the advances in medical knowledge and experience, why are there so many medical errors, yet so little outcry? What can be done to reduce the number? We are a nation of laws, and it should be our aim to keep our community safe and to protect the rights of our citizens. This is precisely why if you or your loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice; you should seek the counsel of a lawyer.
Just as rules govern us on the road to keep us safe, so too do rules govern our medical professionals. Here are several rules to be aware of in your interactions with the medical community:
Failure to signal
Much as blinkers, lights, and street signs communicate with other drivers about impending changes while on the roadway, communication is an essential component of safe medicine. To ensure patient safety, we expect nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals to communicate promptly, accurately, and clearly with one other. Many cases depend on proving when a doctor or nurse treated a patient yet failed to communicate appropriately. Imagine the harm if a physician is not informed of test results, or given information about the wrong patient. The integrity of patient information is paramount. It can be life and death.
Speed related laws
Moving too fast is dangerous and illegal on the road. It reduces attention to detail and puts others around you at risk. Things are no different in a medical context.
Doctors feel an increasing pressure to see more patients in less time, and this rate of speed can cause physicians to make mistakes. The higher the volume of patient traffic, the more likely that a doctor or nurse is to make mistakes as medical assessment and data entry into the medical record is dangerously accelerated. Where speed-related errors become malpractice is when the quality of patient care is compromised by the health care professional.
A lack of speed or urgency can also be malpractice when timely medical intervention is required but not delivered. Whether treated too quickly or too slowly, improper timing of patient care can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
Another common form of medical malpractice occurs when a physician commits an error that any reasonable professional could avoid; or when a doctor practices in a field they are not adequately trained. Just as a driver must demonstrate their knowledge and skills to obtain a license, aspiring physicians must also stay within their specialty when practicing medicine. Yet, sometimes physicians leave their lane and travel into a field of medicine beyond their skill set.
Think of attorneys as the traffic cops. We know the laws, and when they are broken. If you believe medical malpractice has caused pain, suffering, injury, or even death to a loved one, we are standing by to respond to your calls. Just as our roads are dangerous places that require each of us to adhere to certain agreed-upon safety rules, so too must the medical community follow the well-established rules that help keep patients safe. We’re here to help those roles stay enforced.