If you think that you or someone you loved was harmed by medical malpractice, you need an experienced attorney to a review the facts as soon as possible and help determine whether you’re a victim of medical malpractice. This determination can be complicated. Several competing factors must be evaluated and balanced before determining whether a claim should be filed.
Gathering Medical Records
One of the first steps prior to filing a lawsuit is determining whether medical malpractice occurred is obtaining medical records. This means not only gathering records that a client might think are relevant but obtaining all medical records from each health care provider who has rendered care to a patient. This can include slides, films, x-rays, MRIs and any other medical document that may reference a potential client’s treatment. The records are obtained by filing a written request with the medical department of each medical facility or office that has provided treatment to the patient.
Reviewing Medical Records
After all of the records have been collected, the next step is to have the records reviewed by an expert to determine whether the health care professionals involved may have deviated from the standard of care. Sometimes a bad result occurs but this is an accepted risk of a particular procedure and not the result of a negligence. Remember, not all negative outcomes constitute medical malpractice. It is also important to determine whether the potential deviation in care caused the potential client’s harm. If the outcome had been the same even if the doctor had not made the mistake, it may be hard to show malpractice occurred.
Diagnosis Errors & Medical Malpractice
Generally, a doctor, hospital or other health care provider may be held liable and responsible for damages where the medical provider failed to act with the requisite “standard of care” and as a result, the patient suffered harm. This can happen in a variety of ways, such as where a doctor fails to diagnose – or misdiagnoses – a medical condition. A sign that this has occurred may be that your condition is not improving or that the prescribed treatment is not working as predicted.
Medical malpractice may also be indicated in the “over-diagnosis” of a condition, leading to unnecessary surgeries and treatments. This may be the result of a doctor only performing a cursory examination of a patient, or using just basic lab tests to diagnose a serious condition, rather than performing an in-depth examination. Often, discovery of the errors or negligence only occurs after a review of medical records by an attorney and a medical expert.
Contact a Lawyer Today
For more information or if you believe that you may have been harmed by medical negligence, please contact the top San Francisco medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.