How to Know if Your Doctor Made a Mistake

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Michele S. Mirman with Mirman, Markovits & Landau, PC.

How to Know if Your Doctor Made a Mistake
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Most doctors are highly-trained individuals with an admirable commitment to the health and wellbeing of their patients. In some cases, a doctor may exercise all their training, experience, and compassion, only for the patient’s condition to worsen or to discover that a misdiagnosis occurred; the fact of the matter is that these situations can arise from poor outcomes and complicated health conditions just as easily as they can from medical mistakes. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that doctors are as human as anyone else, and this means they are capable of error. Whenever a doctor or health professional makes an unreasonable mistake that another doctor in their situation would not have done, and the patient suffers as a result, the patient may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim to compensate for the resulting damages.

The following signs may indicate that a doctor made a mistake in your treatment:

  • Your recovery is severely unaligned with standard recoveries expected after a specific treatment plan
  • The condition worsens with time instead of getting better
  • You have a gut-feeling that some part of your medical treatment was incorrect
  • The doctor is unwilling to discuss the treatment plan with you
  • The doctor takes too long or fails to reply to phone calls and emails
  • The doctor refuses to release your medical records
  • Your treatment plan is notably dissimilar from other similar cases
  • You were not informed of the severity and/or risks of the treatment (i.e. lack of informed consent)
  • Your condition was misdiagnosed 
  • There was a long delay in diagnosis of your condition resulting in additional pain and/or a worsened prognosis

It can be difficult to determine when a doctor makes a mistake.

The trouble with medical malpractice cases is that it can be difficult to separate an actual medical error from a poor outcome. For example, some conditions are so similar that misdiagnosis may occur even with the best of doctors. Medical malpractice law relies heavily on the idea of reasonable versus unreasonable medical choices; because the human body and the effectiveness of treatments cannot always be predicted, it’s important to consider what a good doctor would reasonably do in a given situation, and to compare that assumption to the actions a doctor actually took.

Unfortunately, even when a doctor takes all the necessary steps to treat a patient, the patient’s condition may not respond as hoped. This is why it is particularly important to reach out to an attorney who understands a doctor’s legal obligations as well as the specifics of your treatment plan. Identifying a mistake in a field as highly technical and scientific as the medical field can be difficult; it typically requires an experienced medical malpractice attorney to identify any areas where a doctor should reasonably have known better than to take the action they did, as well as how to prove that a patient’s damages were a result of that malpractice. 

Victims of medical malpractice may be eligible to seek compensation for damages including past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In the event that the mistake leads to the death of the patient, the patient’s family may be eligible to pursue wrongful death damages in addition to those their loved one could have pursued if they lived.

To learn more about how to identify a potential medical mistake, or for help filing your own claim, reach out to an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your area.

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