Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the commonly accepted standard of care and as a result the patient suffers injuries. It isn’t always easy for patients to identify medical errors. If you think you may have been the victim of physician negligence, you can consult a medical malpractice attorney in Washington, D.C.
Your Doctor Didn’t Recommend Tests
It is possible to diagnose certain medical conditions based on a review of the patient’s medical history and symptoms, and a physical examination. However, patients often require tests for an accurate diagnosis. These may include imaging studies such as X-rays, blood tests, and throat cultures. If the condition you were diagnosed with typically requires tests to confirm the diagnosis and your healthcare provider failed to order those tests, you may have been the victim of malpractice.
Your Condition Doesn’t Get Better
Another possible sign of medical malpractice involves persistent symptoms despite following the doctor’s recommended treatment plan. This doesn’t always indicate malpractice, since patients often respond to treatments differently. For example, it may take multiple attempts to find an antidepressant that the patient responds to well. However, sometimes a lack of improvement indicates that the doctor misdiagnosed the condition or provided a substandard treatment plan.
Informed Consent Was Compromised
All patients have the right to informed consent. Physicians have a responsibility to provide the patient with all the information he or she needs about the medical condition and treatment options, along with the physician’s recommendation. Based on these explanations, patients can make an informed decision for their healthcare. Sometimes, written informed consent is needed, such as before surgery, prior to complex diagnostic tests, and before receiving cancer treatments. If you feel the healthcare provider did not properly advise you, you may have grounds for a malpractice case.
You Suffer Severe Complications
Even if you provided your informed consent for a surgical procedure, you may still file a medical malpractice lawsuit if your surgery was performed in a manner that might be considered unreasonably dangerous or incorrect. In extreme cases, for example, surgeons have been known to perform a particular surgery on the wrong patient or on the wrong body part. If you experience severe or worsening complications after a procedure, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion and talk to a medical malpractice attorney.