According to a recent study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States, claiming more than 250,000 lives every year. The study found that medical malpractice is only behind cancer and heart disease as a top cause of death for Americans.

Reading this study can be unsettling and make you want to avoid going to the hospital. There is something different about dying at the hands of a trusted healthcare professional – the idea of dying as a result of a mistake by the party employed to protect you and keep you healthy can seem more tragic and disturbing than the idea of dying in another type of accident. The best way to reduce your chance of suffering as a result of medical malpractice is to educate yourself about medical malpractice, such as the actions that constitute malpractice and your rights as an injured patient. If you lose a loved one to medical malpractice, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your financial and non-financial damages, such as the loss of his or her companionship.

Examples of Medical Malpractice

When a doctor or other healthcare provider does not perform to his or her expected standard of care, he or she is negligent and may be liable for the patient’s damages. A few examples of actions that are considered to be malpractice include:

  • Failing to diagnose a condition or diagnosing it at a much later stage than he or she potentially could have caught it, making effective treatment more difficult or even impossible;

  • Leaving surgical equipment inside a patient after surgery;

  • Diagnosing a condition incorrectly based on assumptions or misinformation, resulting in ineffective treatment for the patient;

  • Failing to follow up with a patient after treatment to check on his or her progress; and

  • Prescribing an incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage to a patient.

Protect yourself from Medical Malpractice

Although you cannot completely eliminate your chance of being affected by medical malpractice, you can take steps to minimize your risk. Take the following steps to reduce your chance of suffering from a doctor’s error:

  • Keep detailed notes of your symptoms and bring these notes to all doctor appointments. These can provide supplementary information to your medical record;

  • Keep detailed notes of all interactions with healthcare providers. These, too, can be used to make communication between yourself and healthcare providers easier and more comprehensive;

  • Research your condition independently. This enables you to have more detailed conversation with your healthcare provider about it, allowing you to advocate for yourself and gain an understanding of the treatment you receive and your alternative treatment options; and

  • Bring your medication container to every appointment to review the correct dosage.

Work with an Experienced Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you have lost a loved one to medical malpractice, consider filing a wrongful death claim with the aid of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Contact our team of experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Baizer Kolar P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation with our team. We are a boutique firm that values collaboration between our team members, which means a more personalized approach for you and your claim.