Identifying the Signs of Medical Negligence

When you go in for medical treatment, you entrust your health to the skill and care of medical professionals, and the organisations which employ them. Most of the time, this trust is well-placed, and you’ll emerge healthier than you were when you first went in. But sometimes, the outcome can be less than optimal – and in some of those cases, medical negligence might have occurred.

What is Medical Negligence?

While we might all have an instinctive understanding of what medical negligence is, it’s actually something with a pretty strict definition. The medical professionals will need to offer you a poor standard of care, and you’ll need to have suffered harm as a result. That you’ve suffered harm needn’t always mean that you’ve been a victim of negligence, however.

Tell-tale signs to watch out for

There are a few situations worth looking out for when you’re in medical care.

Is the treatment working? If your condition is not improving and you’ve given the treatment sufficient time, then it might be that you’ve been misdiagnosed. This might amount to negligence. If your condition worsens, or you’re developing another condition as a result of the side effects of a treatment you don’t actually need, then negligence is likely to be a factor.

If you suspect that your doctor is not listening to you or taking your concerns and objections on board, then negligence might play a role. An unwillingness to answer questions may be a sign that they cannot defend their diagnosis, or that they’re not really certain.

This can be confirmed by seeking a second opinion. If it differs from the first, then the chances are that the first was mistaken. Note that simply being mistaken isn’t enough for them to be negligent; they’ll have to fall below the standard of care that a reasonable member of the profession would have met. Of course, the first doctor might well refer you to a specialist themselves, having realised that they’ve made a mistake in the first place.

Surgical errors are among the most common kinds of medical negligence. If you’re notified that an error was made while you were under the knife, then you might have grounds for a lawsuit. Surgeons might perform the wrong operation, or perform the right operation incompetently, or they might even leave foreign objects in your body. All of these things would qualify as medical negligence.

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