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Avoiding Medical Malpractice

closeup of surgical mask, stethoscope, and gloves

One of the most frequent types of claims that any Boca Raton personal injury attorney finds themselves dealing with is medical malpractice; this is not to say that medical care isn’t generally held to a very high standard. Considering the large number of medical providers in south Florida, and the large population of the area in general, it’s inevitable that a certain number of mistakes would happen—that under certain circumstances, errors and negligence will result in injuries or even death for patients. However, it’s important for physicians and patients both to do what they can to avoid finding themselves in a situation where a medical malpractice lawsuit comes into play. While an experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorney can assist the victims of medical malpractice in getting compensation, it would certainly be better to avoid having to deal with the stress, pain, and hassle in the first place.

The first thing to keep in mind as a patient is that you must be your own advocate, and take responsibility for your health care. While doctors and other medical professionals have every intention of taking care of and treating the illnesses and injuries of their patients, they are often in a position of working long days and seeing a high volume of individuals. Under the circumstances, mistakes can happen. Make a point of researching your medical condition when you’re diagnosed, and make sure that you ask any questions you have about your medication, your diagnosis, and other important factors. Before agreeing to any surgery or procedure, make sure you understand the risks and benefits, and how long it may take to recover. An important but often overlooked aspect is also to make sure you are providing complete information; when you withhold information (because you find it embarrassing, or for any other reason) it can lead to accidents, including drug interactions.

From the point of view of the physician, there are things that can be done to avoid the stress and struggle of a malpractice suit. While physicians and other medical providers are certainly chronically pressed for time, it’s important to make sure that you do your homework before engaging with your patient; read charts before—not during—the appointment, and make sure that there is follow up regarding missed appointments or tests. A major aspect that repeatedly comes up in medical malpractice suits, as any Boca Raton personal injury attorney can attest, is the medical provider’s failure to make sure that the patient understands fully what is expected of them, what the diagnosis is, and how treatment will be accomplished. A trick that medical providers can and should borrow from the customer service industry is to get verification of understanding at each stage of an explanation. By checking for understanding frequently, and without a judgmental attitude, you as the medical provider can cover all bases and make sure that there are no problems that crop up due to misunderstandings.

While some small percentage of medical malpractice claims will continue to persist no matter how vigilant medical providers are or how well-informed patients take the time to become, one of the things that many Boca Raton personal injury attorneys can agree to is that in many cases, small differences in the behavior of each party could have resulted in a different outcome. For patients, it’s most important to keep in mind that if you are very uncomfortable with your medical provider’s diagnosis, prognosis, or behavior, you are entitled to seek a second opinion. For physicians and other medical providers, it is vitally important to keep up to date as much as possible on new information—including issues with previously-approved medications and treatments. By taking the time to advocate for your own patients, you can do your best to avoid creating a situation where they must retain the services of a Boca Raton personal injury lawyer.

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