Most people trust their doctors. They go to them when they have questions and rely on their advice to get better. That’s part of what makes identifying medical malpractice so difficult. Some patients become so trusting of their doctors that they follow all of their advice without question, even if it puts them in danger. While it’s good to have a friendly relationship with your doctor, it’s also important that you’re able to identify the warning signs of medical malpractice and protect yourself from potential harm.
Know the Signs of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be difficult to identify. You may not realize that anything’s wrong until you already have symptoms of a different ailment. That said, these are a few signs that can potentially help you identify medical malpractice before it goes too far.
Be cautious of any doctor that says “I have a pill for that.” About 70% of Americans take prescriptions on a daily basis and many don’t consider how changes to their medication can impact their health.
Before starting a new pill, your doctor needs to look at your current prescriptions and consider how they will interact with each other. If every complaint you bring to your doctor is met with a trip to the pharmacy, it could be a sign of medical malpractice and could lead to severe, unintended side effects.
At the same time, you should be especially wary of using new pain medications. Receiving more pain medication than you need may seem like a good way to help you deal with difficult days, but it can quickly lead to addiction or even dependence. Each year, 15,000 Americans overdose while taking their prescription pain medication.
Be wary of how much testing you receive. If you have a broken bone, for example, and your orthopedic doctor suggests getting an X-Ray every week or an MRI every two weeks, you may want a second opinion.
Testing should be progressive and work up the ladder to provide the most detailed picture. Generally speaking, if you need imaging you should expect an X-Ray or ultrasound, a CAT scan, and then an MRI if the doctor needs more information.
Each of these imaging techniques provides more information than the last, but they should only be used if the doctor needs a more detailed picture to treat you. Too much testing, especially radiological testing, can be hazardous to your health and may signal malpractice or insurance fraud on the doctor’s part.
Proving a case of misdiagnosis is difficult, as is identifying the early warning signs. In many cases, a misdiagnosis is only obvious when your condition significantly worsens or you end up in the hospital. However, there are a few ways you can be proactive in identifying this kind of medical malpractice.
Before you’re diagnosed with a serious condition, like lupus, celiac disease, or fibromyalgia be sure to go over every angle with your doctor. A diagnosis that doesn’t account for your family history, current medications, and symptoms is an incomplete diagnosis. Likewise, you should ask questions about testing. For example, your doctor should not diagnose you with conditions like high cholesterol or diabetes if they haven’t ordered blood work.
If you suspect you’ve been misdiagnosed or if you’re taking your medication and not getting better, you might seek a second opinion. Science is repeatable and observable. If other doctors look at the same evidence and come to a different conclusion than your doctor, it’s more likely to be medical malpractice. Likewise, if you have concerns about your current quality of care, you should do your research and read reviews about the current doctor. If you see the warning signs and fear that you’re getting sicker or that something’s not right, it may be time to explore your options.
If you or someone you love experienced medical malpractice, you may have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Northwest Indiana medical malpractice attorney who cares, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (219) 212-2462 so we can discuss your options.