Nothing is more terrifying than a medical malpractice horror story. That's probably because we can all see ourselves making the same mistakes as the victims. Like most people, we trust our doctors and assume that they are competent and caring. Sadly, sometimes that's a false assumption, and the consequences of trusting a bad doctor can be life-altering. The good news is that we all can reduce our odds of becoming victims of medical malpractice such as a wrong diagnosis, or conversely, a failure to diagnose. A little due diligence and curiosity can go a long way towards screening out the quacks, the scammers and the downright incompetent doctors.
Do Your Homework
An hour or two of online research can help you find a doctor who has at least satisfied basic competency requirements. It can also help you identify doctors who have advanced degrees, years of expertise, or awards to their credit. At the bare minimum, you should choose a doctor who has a medical license and who has no record of criminal wrongdoing. You can check these things with your state's medical board, visit websites devoted to running checks on doctors, or simply search the doctor's name online. As an additional safeguard, it's also a good idea to choose a doctor who is board certified. Board certified doctors have completed additional training and tests in their specialty beyond just the license requirements. You might also research local doctors who have been voted high on local "best of" lists, who have won awards from medical organizations, or who have been commended by their peers.
If you have friends or relatives who work in the healthcare industry, sometimes you can ask them about specific local doctors. They may know information that isn't available to the general public, such as what other professionals think of the doctor, or if he has a reputation for being overzealous, lax or sloppy. If you have a medical issue that makes your choice of a doctor very important, you might also put in the time to visit different doctors in the same specialty, and to ask them what they think of each other. You might be surprised what you can learn this way. If a certain doctor has a history of surgical errors, another surgeon in the same hospital is likely to know it, and may tell you. If you can't get information in these ways, you can at least check online to see if previous patients have been satisfied with the doctor. There are many websites now that allow patients to rate their experience with doctors.
Get a Second Opinion
If you have chosen a doctor, and he recommends a serious medical procedure, get a second or even a third opinion. You don't have to inform your doctor that you're doing it. A second opinion will either confirm that your doctor's recommendation is reasonable and usual in your situation, or will alert you that you may need to seek another physician. Never be afraid to ask your doctor questions, and to get an additional medical opinion. Many medical malpractice tragedies might have been averted if every patient took this simple precaution.
Sometimes, even if you take all of the proper precautions, medical negligence can occur. In this case, your best option is to consult with a New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer. However, do your best to research your physician beforehand, and you'll feel all the more confident and comfortable with your choice!