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Five Common Signs That You May Have Been a Victim of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases are among the most complex types of personal injury lawsuits. Often, it is not clear if you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice.  There are very few absolutes in the field of medicine and a good outcome is rarely guaranteed.  However, patterns tend to emerge and there are frequently signs that medical malpractice may have occurred.  In many cases, these signs overlap.  Below are a list of five signs that you or a loved one may have been the victim of medical malpractice:

  1. You have an unexpected result or outcome.  If you undergo a surgical or other type of medical procedure and something happens as a result of that procedure that worsens your health or is not something discussed previously, that should raise questions for the medical providers to answer.  Often times, an unexpected result or outcome is a risk of the procedure, but other times it can be due to a medical provider's failure to take reasonable precautions to prevent that from occurring.
  2. Your medical condition is not improving or is worsening.   This could be the result of an improper diagnosis or improper treatment which could form the basis for a medical malpractice claim if the improper diagnosis or treatment resulted in additional injury.
  3. You do not have a clear understanding of your diagnosis.  Medicine is not an exact science.  Medical providers often rely on what is called a "Differential Diagnosis" to determine what the proper diagnosis and treatment should be.  A Differential Diagnosis is the process of weighing the probability of one disease versus that of other diseases possibly accounting for a patient's illness.   In general, the more serious and likely conditions are investigated first and either excluded or confirmed.  When doctors fail to follow this process, they often will have a diagnosis that is unclear and does not account for all of a patient's complaints and symptoms. 
  4. You are not advised of the results, either positive or negative, of certain tests or procedures.  Miscommunication is a common theme in medical malpractice lawsuits.  People do not like giving or receiving bad news.  Medical providers often rely on systems and staff members to ensure proper patient notification and sometimes failures occur.  Patients often will not follow up with a medical provider under the belief that "no news is good news."  Either way, it is the duty of the medical provider to take steps to inform patients of a condition or test result.  Their failure to do so in a timely and proper manner may form the basis of a claim for medical malpractice.
  5. Your complaints are ignored and not acted upon.  This can go hand-in-hand with other items on the list, particularly #2 and #3, but it deserves a mention on its own.  Sometimes a medical provider simply does not hear or appreciate all of a patient's complaints.  Other times, a patient believes they told a medical provider but the medical provider did not write it down.  As a result, the complaint is not acted upon properly and the diagnosis and treatment are delayed.  With the advent of the internet and various websites, patients will often self-diagnose based upon information they have learned on-line. We have encountered several instances of patients telling a medical provider the correct diagnosis only to have the medical provider dismiss the patient's diagnosis because the patient is "not the doctor."  As a result, the patient is harmed because of the doctor's pride and the inevitable delay.

Individuals who have suffered an injury due to medical negligence should seek the counsel of a skilled malpractice attorney. Medical negligence cases can be expensive and time consuming, necessitating the hiring of a law firm that has the resources to adequately handle these cases. Hiring skilled representation can mean the difference between a favorable verdict or settlement and disappointment.  At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our attorneys have the skill and resources necessary to properly handle medical negligence cases. Our attorneys' process-which includes hiring medical experts to help prove that the physician may have acted negligently- for  handling medical negligence cases has led to a number of favorable verdicts and settlements.

Do you believe that you or someone you love has suffered an injury due to medical negligence? If so, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. To see how Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool may be able to help you, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online.

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