When you go to the doctor, you place a lot of trust in your healthcare provider, their team, the healthcare where they practice, and the medical industry in general. When something like medical malpractice occurs, victims are often left unsure where to turn for help.
It can be difficult to differentiate malpractice from an honest mistake. But if one or more of the following conditions applies to your recent doctor’s visit, you may benefit from seeking legal counsel.
1. Lack of Informed Consent
A medical provider must give a patient enough information about their diagnosis and causes, prognosis, and proposed care options to allow them to make an educated decision about their care. Physicians should detail the treatment process and the risks or side effects and disclose anticipated risks or adverse health effects if the patient chooses to undergo the recommended treatments.
If a doctor performs a procedure you didn’t give informed consent for, or if you weren’t made aware of the side effects or risks of a particular medication and your health has worsened, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
2. Unexpected Complications
When you give your treating physician informed consent for a procedure or course of medication, they must disclose potential complications. For example, certain surgical procedures may come with complications during the healing process. Patients are typically made aware of these potential issues before consenting.
However, if you experience a sudden, rare complication, such as damage to the spinal cord resulting from an epidural, it may be in your best interests to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer.
Other complications could arise from errors during the treatment itself, like leaving a sponge following an operation or failing to consider how an underlying medical condition might affect a proposed treatment.
3. A Diagnosis That Doesn’t Align With Your Symptoms
Self-diagnosis of a particular condition doesn’t replace a professional diagnosis. But if you notice that your presenting symptoms don’t match the common symptoms of your diagnosis, you may have been misdiagnosed. Misdiagnosis can qualify as malpractice if it results in the overall deterioration of a patient’s health.
Misdiagnosis can have lifelong consequences, including missing out on early treatments that could cure or greatly relieve your condition. For instance, misdiagnosing cancer as something else, like mononucleosis, could change the course of your life.
If you’re concerned about symptoms that don’t match a recent diagnosis, seek a second qualified medical opinion. It’s always best to get a second opinion if you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness.
4. Ineffective Treatment
If you’re complying with a treatment regimen and not seeing any improvement in your health or reduction in your symptoms, it could be an indication that you’ve been misdiagnosed.
It often takes time to see improvement after starting a new medication or undergoing surgery, but if it’s been a reasonable amount of time since you started the treatment and nothing has changed, talk to your doctor.
If they’re unwilling to admit their prescribed treatment isn’t having the desired effect and aren’t willing to explore other options, your original diagnosis might have been incorrect. A second opinion can help you and your malpractice attorney determine an appropriate course of action.
Malpractice or mistake — how can I tell?
If your treatment raises any of these red flags, your first step should be to see a different doctor or a specialist for a second opinion. Once you’ve done that, consult a New Mexico medical malpractice lawyer, like Hunt Law, to determine your legal options.
We have the knowledge, experience, and resources you need to pursue a successful malpractice case. Contact us today for a free consultation.