Five Tips for Protecting Yourself in the Hospital
A malpractice lawsuit is a complicated ordeal, involving numerous documents, medical records, expert testimony and other considerations. In total, it typically takes more than two years from filing a claim to reaching a resolution. Anything you can do to assist your attorney in gathering information and proving your case allows you to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Here are a few tips the Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm recommend for anyone visiting a hospital for treatment. The suggested habits help you keep a personal record of your care, and may even help prevent an accident or oversight during your treatment.
- Ask all healthcare providers who they are and what they are doing. According to a 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety, medical errors are responsible for more than 400,000 deaths each year, making it the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. These errors are often the result of a doctor, nurse or orderly treating or moving the wrong patient. Help ensure staff members are with the correct patient by asking who they are to see to avoid a case of mistaken identity. Asking what procedures they are conducting and what medications they are giving helps you keep track of what is happening with your care.
- Ask questions. Be an active participant in your treatment. If you’re ever uncertain about what a treatment entails or the reasoning behind a particular action, you should ask a staff member. The more you understand, the more easily you’ll be able to relate what happened to your attorney if you need to do so.
- Voice any symptoms or concerns. Keep your medical care providers aware of how you are feeling. Let someone know if you notice any new symptoms or if symptoms go away. If something unexpected happens, you want your doctors to know about it. Likewise, be vocal if you don’t agree with or don’t want a particular treatment. Doctors are required to get a patient’s informed consent before starting any treatment, and a doctor may construe lukewarm acceptance as consent. Be very clear if you don’t want a treatment or don’t understand what they’re telling you.
- Take notes. Memory is faulty, but it is often all that an attorney has to go on when asking a client what happened. Worse yet, when you’re a patient, you’re probably not feeling well, you may be stressed, and you might not even be conscious at times, depending on your treatment or condition. These all affect how you remember events and get in the way of finding the truth. If you keep a written record of who you speak to, what treatments are prescribed and when things happen, it gives your attorney a better direction to start investigating.
- Bring someone with you. Having another person with you at the hospital isn’t just a morale booster. It helps to have a clear-headed companion to ask questions, relay information and keep track of what is happening during your visit. If you have a friend or family member who works in healthcare, they may also be able to help explain the doctors’ actions and the course of recommended treatment.
These actions help prevent issues during your hospital stay, but if issues arise, they also give you powerful ammunition for a medical malpractice case. As your attorney is collecting documents and building a list of witnesses for your claim, the more details you remember, the better. If you’re the victim of medical malpractice during a hospital stay, contact the Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm at 216-687-0900 or online to schedule a free consultation. Our firm handles medical malpractice cases exclusively.