ERNST & YOUNG
We go to the doctor to get better, not worse. That is why it can feel confusing and frightening when your or a loved one’s health seems to worsen rather than improve after a medical procedure. You begin to doubt your judgment, stress about bothering the doctor with what might be “nothing”. All the while, a health condition seems to continue heading in the wrong direction. What should you do? Here are some suggestions.
Speak Up, Even If It Feels Uncomfortable
Patients and their family members must advocate for themselves and their loved ones in any medical setting. Ideally, patients should always have a family member with them at all times in the hospital. Thus, they have a voice when they cannot speak for themselves. Healthcare workers have the best of intentions, but they do not necessarily know important details about a patient.
Speaking up about health complications after a procedure can feel uncomfortable. We tend to hold healthcare workers in high regard. Thus, we tend to discount the value of our observations compared to theirs. Understandable as that self-doubt may seem, giving it the power to keep you silent can cost you dearly.
The information you communicate to doctors, nurses, and other health care workers about what you perceive as a worsening medical condition could save your own or your loved one’s life. Those are the highest stakes imaginable. So, do not give a second thought to seeming rude or pushy on any health topic. Speak up, and then let the medical professionals decide what to do with the information you give them.
Seek Multiple Opinions After a Medical Procedure
In a hospital setting like an intensive care unit, you or your loved one may see multiple healthcare providers over a 24-hour period. One team of doctors and nurses will take over from another when a shift changes, for instance. If you have concerns about a worsening health condition, point it out to both teams and compare the responses. Medical diagnosis can, at times, consist of as much art as science, and one provider’s judgment, experience, and knowledge-base can differ widely from another’s.
Similarly, be aware of the hierarchy of medical workers tending to you or your loved one. A power dynamic exists in hospitals just as it does in any other workplace. Make your observation about your or your loved one’s worsening condition to people at every level of the hierarchy — nurses, young “resident” doctors, and senior doctors. Pay attention to who listens and responds to your concerns, and consider putting more confidence in their assessments than in those of workers who seem uncertain or unwilling to hear you out.
Do not fear seeking “outside” (or “second”) opinions, either. If you do not feel heard and understood by a team of providers, then you always have the right to seek opinions from medical teams elsewhere. Your and your loved one’s health always takes priority.
Keep a Notebook of Questions, Observations, and Answers
If possible, write down anything you see, hear, or want to know more about. Oftentimes, you get limited face time with an attending physician who has lots of patients to see. Make the most of your few minutes by keeping a running list of all questions or topics you want to discuss, so that you do not forget or become flustered when the moment comes. Take notes of the answers people give you. This will help you in numerous ways: to make sense of the information you receive, to have a record of it to refer to later and to formulate follow-up questions, and to show the medical team your active engagement in your own or your loved one’s care (which tends to keep them on their toes).
Speak With an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Doctors cannot, and should not, guarantee that patients will have favorable health outcomes from medical procedures. Sometimes, despite a medical team’s best efforts, surgeries do not fix health problems. Sometimes patients’ bodies do not react well to anesthesia, or to surgical implants, or to post-procedure medications. These are risks patients run that doctors may not have any realistic ability to eliminate.
However, health care workers have an obligation to provide patients with a reasonable “standard of care”. This represents a minimum quality of medical service and treatment that every patient has the right to expect. Medical professionals whose decisions or actions slip below this level of care — whether through inattention or carelessness, or because of extreme fatigue — can face legal liability for any harm the patient suffers as a result.
Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Mayland
Malpractice attorneys represent patients who have suffered negative health outcomes because a medical professional provided sub-standard care. New health complications that arise after a medical procedure could signal that a provider did not meet the basic standard of care. A lawyer with experience in Maryland medical malpractice law has the resources and know-how to evaluate the evidence to determine whether a health care provider’s sub-standard decisions or actions have harmed you and entitle you to recover compensation for your injuries. Some circumstances that could lead to that sort of liability after a medical procedure include:
- A failure to perform the procedure with adequate care, such as when a surgeon accidentally severs a patient’s nerve, or operates on the wrong part of the body, or leaves a medical implement inside a patient, or fails to administer safe and effective anesthesia;
- A misdiagnosis of a patient’s medical condition that leads the health care team to perform an unnecessary procedure; and
- Poor pre- or post-operative care that leads to preventable health complications.
Learn More About What to Do If You or a Loved One Experiences Health Issues After a Medical Procedure
If, despite advocating for yourself or your loved one, a medical complication leaves you or your loved one in worse shape than before a procedure, you may have rights to significant compensation under Maryland law. Contact the experienced medical malpractice injury team at Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek for a free, confidential, no-obligation case consultation.
Who Can You Trust with Your Case?
Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.
Call For a Free Consultation