Posted: October 1, 2014
Sometime in the 1970’s, the American Hospital Association drafted a Bill of Rights to inform patients of what to expect while in the hospital. Different groups have since then come up with different declarations resulting to multiple versions of the Patient’s Bill of Rights. This essentially means that there are many provisions under the law that protect your rights as a patient. And some of the more significant ones that you should remember are:
- You have the right to accurate and easy-to-understand information about your health plan, health care professionals, and health care facilities. If you speak another language…or just don’t understand something, help should be given so you can make informed health care decisions.”
- You have the right to be informed about your treatment options and take part in decisions about your care. You have the right to ask about the pros and cons of any treatment, including no treatment at all. As long as you are able to make sound decisions, you have the right to refuse any test or treatment, even if it means you might have a bad health outcome as a result. You can also legally choose someone who can speak for you if you cannot make your own decisions.
- You have the right to a fair, fast, and objective review of any complaint you have against your health plan, doctors, hospitals, or other health care personnel. This includes complaints about waiting times, operating hours, the actions of health care personnel, and the adequacy of health care facilities.
“Health is wealth”, no doubt. And because the cost of health care in the United States doesn’t come cheap, it is but natural for everyone to expect to get the appropriate care and treatment they need. Let’s face it, these doctors and health care providers are very important part of our lives. When you or any loved one receives treatment and care from a healthcare professional, they are bound by law to attend to your medical needs to the best of their abilities. Sadly, that isn’t always the case. And their inability or negligence to provide the appropriate care and treatment could result in medical complications and serious or even life-threatening conditions.
In case you are unsure about the care or treatment you or a loved one is receiving, here are some things you can consider doing:
Gather your medical records. Getting copies of your medical records is an important first step. If you are not happy with the care and treatment provided by your current doctor, you will most likely search for another doctor and you’ll need to provide that new doctor with your medical history and records. It also makes sense to keep copies for yourself.
Keep track. It takes a long time for a medical malpractice cases to get resolved so it would be very advisable that you spend extra time to recording things.
Seek second opinion. A second opinion is critical in becoming educated regarding your treatment options. The more you know, the better chance you have of receiving the most appropriate and adequate medical care. If the second opinion is consistent with the original diagnosis and medical assessment, you can have peace of mind. On the other hand, in case you are somehow misdiagnosed, a second opinion can minimize the risks or complications.
Learn more. “Knowledge is power”, right? Get yourself more actively involved in your or your loved one’s care by understanding and learning more about your medical condition and symptoms. This will enable you to get the proper health care and attention you need.
Consult a medical malpractice lawyer. If ever you think that you or a loved one have not received the appropriated and optimum standard of care from your healthcare provider or you or your loved one suffered an injury because of a medical professional’s mistake or negligence, you may demand for a full explanation. And if you feel you have a case for medical negligence, it would be wise to consult a medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice or medical negligence occurs when a medical professional does something or fails to do something that results in an injury or causes harm or discomfort to the patient. Although you might think your doctor has made a mistake while treating you or your loved one, your claim still has to be proven whether it is true or not. There’s actually a lot more to a medical malpractice case than meets the eye. A medical malpractice attorney can undertake a legal and factual assessment and advise you on whether you may have a legal claim. More often than not though, a malpractice case is a long and complicated legal matter and usually takes some time to resolve.
Now in case you have doubts about the quality and appropriateness of the care and treatment that you or your loved one received, you may consult an attorney to determine if you have a case. In order to file a legal claim, the following have to be established first:
1. A duty of care exists between your or your loved one’s health care professional.
2. The duty of care has been breached by the standard of care that you have received.
3. The treatment or care that you or your loved one received has resulted to an “avoidable harm”, meaning pain, discomfort or complications which could have avoided had you received the appropriate care and treatment.
01 Oct 2014