There is no doubt - when patients are harmed due to preventable medical errors, they face a number of challenges holding hospitals, HMOs and healthcare providers accountable.
Some of the common preventable medical mistakes and systems erros that lead to these mistakes are HMO or hospital failures to diagnose; misdiagnoses or ignoring laboratory results; unnecessary surgeries; surgical errors or wrong site surgery; incorrect medication or dosage. And the leading cause of medical malpractice suits are diagnostic errors, which amount to about 40% of cases.
Patients often run into difficulties when they try and find out when the medical errors took place because physicians are not legally required to disclose malpractice to patients. Even though, under the American Medical Association code of ethics, the physicians are obligated to inform patients of the facts concerning mistakes that occurred. Since this is not mandatory, physicians tend to ignore them. Hospitals have risk managers who will investigate and document hospital mistakes but not disclose them to the affected patients.
Patients who sue health care professionals have it hard because other health care professionals are loathe to testify against other health care professionals. Many don't want to testify against a colleague or get involved even if they believe malpractice occurred. And hospital and insurance lawyers make it tough on doctors with the guts to do so - when they do testify on the behalf of the the patient in a meritorious case, they are grilled on everything you can imagine - their practice, education, training, other physicians they know, etc... But a lawsuit against a physician, hospital or HMO cannot proceed without an expert witness,
What does this mean for the patient? It means that we have to work harder to bring you the justice that you deserve. If you feel that you are a victim of medical malpractice, you need to understand this information and act on it. Contact our offices and our recognized, Board Certified medical malpractice lawyers in D.C. will give you information you can use to help your family. We do this whether we agree to investigate a case or not. We think that's the way it should be.
Pick up a copy of our 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice: How Every Patient Can Recognize, Stop and Avoid Medical Mistakes for more information about medical malpractice and medical mistakes.
Also check out our News section for up to date information on medical malpractice in the news.
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