For the over 13 million seniors admitted to hospitals across the US, the ability to trust their care providers is a lifeline, especially as they live through such a vulnerable phase of their lives.
However, not all providers are equally trustworthy or capable. And, when choosing a clinic or nursing home, it is crucial to be aware of the risks of medical malpractice and defend your rights as a person and as a patient.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about what medical malpractice is, what forms it is likely to take, and what you can do to keep yourself safe.
Medical Malpractice is More Common Than You Think
Patients over 65 represent over a third of all patients in US hospitals and, as the population ages, these figures are only bound to increase. In proportion, the risk of elderly patients falling victim to medical malpractice is increasing and, today, it is estimated that 10% of US deaths are a consequence of improper care.
What’s more, senior citizens seeking medical care are often treated differently from younger patients, and, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, around 30% of patients over 70 leave hospitals in worse conditions than when they were admitted. This percentage increases to 50% when looking at patients over 85 years of age.
Know Your Rights - But Many Expert Medical Malpractice Lawyers Offer a Free Consultation
As a patient, you have rights worth knowing and understanding, including the right to information about diagnosis and treatment, the right to privacy and confidentiality, the right to refuse treatment, and the right to protection from abuse. Even more importantly, if you feel that any of these rights have been violated, you can voice a complaint.
Navigating your rights and responsibilities as a patient is all but easy, especially as each state has its own laws and requirements defining what constitutes medical malpractice and what type of compensation you should receive. That is why it is important to partner with a legal professional before dealing with a medical malpractice claim.
If you are unsure how to proceed, take advantage of the free consultation lawyers offer and find guidance to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical Malpractice Comes In Different Forms
Medical malpractice comes in many shapes and forms, and knowing what it looks like can help you safeguard your rights.
Here are some of the most common categories of medical malpractice:
For a Medical Malpractice Claim, You’ll Need Evidence
Medical malpractice isn’t always easy to recognize and provide evidence for. However, generally, to file a lawsuit, you will need to be able to prove that:
Take Precautions When Choosing a Nursing Home
For over 70% of people aged 65 and over, finding long-term medical and personal care is essential to maintain a high quality of life. However, not all nursing homes are able to provide equal standards of care.
To safeguard yourself from medical malpractice and abuse, make sure to choose your nursing home wisely, attentively vet the candidates, and research the standards a certain facility provides. Consider speaking to existing patients or their families to learn more about what to expect.
Beware of the Dangers of Defensive Medicine
According to recent estimations, over 99% of physicians will deal with a medical malpractice lawsuit during their careers. But while it is common for patients to file a claim against their doctor, healthcare providers use a range of strategies to protect themselves and their practice from lawsuits.
However, if a physician changes the way he or she operates in order to reduce the chances of receiving a lawsuit, they might be practicing what is called defensive medicine. Defensive medicine includes providing excessive and unnecessary care to patients - or not providing any at all -, which can lead to higher healthcare costs for patients or improper care.
If you suspect that a healthcare provider is practicing defensive medicine, make sure to speak to a specialized lawyer.
Don’t Deal With Medical Malpractice Alone
Medical malpractice cases might seem impossible to navigate, especially if you are looking to file a claim without the support of a specialized legal team and in a moment of vulnerability.
That is why you should consider the benefits of partnering with an attorney who can help you build your case, gather evidence, and boost your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.