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What Do I Do If I’m Injured During a Hospital Stay?

What Do I Do If I’m Injured During a Hospital Stay?

Imagine you’ve been injured in an accident or are suffering due to an illness. What if you are so injured or sick that you must go to the hospital for treatment? What if while an EMT, nurse, or doctor is treating your injury or illness, you suffer an additional injury? Are they responsible for hurting you? Is it considered medical malpractice or is this type of injury just something that happens occasionally? Getting the answers to these questions may be your best or only option for securing the medical help you need and any financial help you and your family need following the incident.

How Do I Know If My Injury Was Medical Malpractice?

For those who have been injured while receiving treatment at a hospital, it can be difficult to tell if their injury was because of medical malpractice. In fact, just understanding what type of injuries in general are considered medical malpractice can be tough to figure out. Still, as difficult as it can be, anyone who suffers an injury at the hands of a healthcare professional during a hospital visit should do everything possible to determine whether their injuries were the result of medical negligence.

The first step to doing that is learning what is defined as medical malpractice under the law. In general, the legal definition of medical malpractice is when the actions of a hospital or healthcare professional while treating a patient are negligent and result in the patient suffering an injury. Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Anesthesia Errors – This can involve incidents such as a patient not being given enough anesthesia or being given too much anesthesia.
  • Misdiagnosis/Failure to Diagnose – Misdiagnosis is when an illness or injury is diagnosed incorrectly. Failure to diagnose is when a medical professional fails to diagnose an injury or illness at all.
  • Unnecessary Surgery – There is no such thing as minor surgery. Anytime a patient undergoes surgery, it is a serious situation. Therefore, undergoing surgery when it’s not necessary is a big deal and can, like other surgical errors, be considered medical malpractice under certain circumstances.
  • Medication Errors – These types of errors can involve mistakes like giving a patient the wrong medication, labeling medication incorrectly, prescribing a patient medication they’re allergic to, and failing to inform patients about the common side effects of a medication they’ve been prescribed.
  • Failure to Test/Lab Results Errors – Failure to test is when a doctor or hospital fails to have a patient undergo the proper tests necessary to diagnose their illness or injury. Laboratory results errors include ignoring or misreading lab results.
  • Premature Discharge – This involves releasing a patient from care/allowing a patient to go home too soon.
  • Aftercare/Follow-up Errors – When medical negligence occurs after initial treatment, that is considered an aftercare or follow-up error. Examples of this can include not following up with a patient at all, not following up with a patient often enough, or not following up with a patient soon enough.
  • Patient History Errors – This generally involves ignoring or not properly considering a patient’s medical history before treating them. It can also include not properly updating a patient’s medical history, which can prevent other healthcare professionals from being fully informed about that patient’s condition before treating them.

What Responsibility Do Medical Professionals Have If I’m Injured While Under Their Care?

Healthcare professionals, such as doctors, EMTs, and nurses, have a responsibility to provide an acceptable standard of care when treating patients. However, even if a medical professional’s actions fall below that standard of care while treating a patient, that does not necessarily mean they can be held accountable for medical malpractice. There are other criteria that a case must meet to be considered medical negligence. Due to that fact, determining if a healthcare professional is responsible for a specific patient’s injury can ultimately only be decided if their case meets each of the following criteria:

  • Failed to Meet Standard of Care – Standard of care is a certain level of care that the medical profession recognizes as acceptable. If a healthcare provider fails to meet standard of care while treating a patient, it can be the first step to proving that a patient was injured or died due to medical negligence.
  • Negligence Led to an Injury – After establishing that standard of care wasn’t met, the next step to validating a medical malpractice claim is proving that a hospital or healthcare professional’s failure to meet standard of care led to a patient’s injury. In addition, the patient must prove that the injury wouldn’t have happened if the healthcare provider hadn’t been negligent.
  • Suffered Substantial Damages – Due to the expense of pursuing a medical malpractice claim (hours of depositions, testimony from several medical experts), if damages for a case aren’t significant, it may cost more to pursue the claim than how much survivors and/or their families recover. Therefore, for a medical malpractice claim to be considered valid, damages suffered from the incident must be substantial. Examples of substantial damages include significant pain and suffering, expensive current and future medical bills, loss of income, long-term disability, and death.

While the above criteria can help patients determine if they may have been the victim of medical malpractice, the best way they can be sure their injuries are the result of medical negligence is to discuss their situation with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

What Should I Do If a Doctor, Nurse, or EMT Injures Me During Treatment?

First, seek proper medical treatment for your injuries immediately or as soon as you’re able. Second, document everything. This includes: gathering all relevant paper and electronic documents, keeping an accurate record of anything that happens related to the incident (meetings, conversations, calls, texts, emails, dates, names, contact information, et cetera), writing down what happened as best you can, getting the names of those you feel are responsible for your injuries and the names and contact details of any witnesses, and taking pictures of your injuries if possible. Finally, speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney about your situation as soon as possible.

At Belushin Law Firm, P.C., our team of medical malpractice attorneys have been guiding survivors of medical negligence and their families through the process of holding those responsible for their injuries or the loss of their loved ones accountable since 2002. Our clients and their best interests are our legal team’s top priority, and our clients’ reviews and case results prove it.

To schedule a consultation with our medical malpractice lawyers, call us at (888) 918-9890 or contact us online today.

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