While some medical errors are readily apparent, many times a serious hospital error is not immediately obvious. You may have a suspicion that you or your loved one has been harmed by a hospital’s substandard care. In most instances, you will need to have your medical records reviewed by independent medical experts to determine whether a preventable hospital error occurred.
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Regarding Moviedoc's comment, "Treating a rape victim must you tell them you were raped by your brother when you were 10?"...This is probably a bit too much information. However, telling a rape victim that you (the treating therapist or Psychiatrist) are a survivor of rape is often very helpful! Rape victims often think that no one understands, and that they can not survive. Having someone right in front of them who has experienced the same thing and survived it, is therapeutic. It should never be confabulated though, either true, or not said.
Medical professionals are held to a higher standard of competence than nonprofessionals. They should have a great deal of knowledge regarding various medical conditions and treatment protocols, and therefore are responsible for providing a high standard of care. Standard of care is defined as what a “reasonable” medical practitioner would have done under similar circumstances. In other words, medical professionals are responsible for using a certain level of knowledge, training, and experience. Medical professionals received extensive training in their field, and can therefore be held to a higher standard than a well-meaning passerby at the scene of an emergency (Bal 2009).
When you consider the time it takes for your attorney to conduct an initial investigation, gather the facts and early evidence, track down a medical expert, conduct required settlement negotiations and/or go through the medical screening panel or other pre-suit requirements, you can begin to see why most medical malpractice plaintiffs are in a scramble to beat the limitations deadline from the moment they decide to sue. (To find your state's time limit to file a medical malpractice case, see this chart.)
The report by the Indiana Department of Health identified 21 surgeries on the wrong body parts and 4 wrong surgical procedures performed on patients in 2014. The problem is common enough that the federal Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations published a protocol for healthcare providers to follow that includes a “timeout process” to prevent wrong operations and wrong-site surgery. Unfortunately, a fifth of our hospitals have not adopted the protocol.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, stating that “true consent to what happens to one’s self is the informed exercise of a choice, and that entails an opportunity to evaluate knowledgeably the options available and the risks attendant upon each … it is the prerogative of the patient, not the physician, to determine for himself the direction in which his interests seem to lie.”