Physicians and nurses have years of medical training in order to help them make the right decisions on behalf of their patients. Unfortunately, there are occasionally scenarios in which a doctor or nurse makes a mistake that can have serious consequences for the patient in their care.
As someone with an injury or illness that requires surgery, medication or other treatments, learning to advocate for yourself can be a critical skill. In addition to familiarizing yourself with medical jargon and asking questions, you should also learn some of the warning signs of a potential medical mistake that could constitute medical malpractice.
Staff members that seem hurried or unresponsive
Carelessness and stress are frequently contributing factors to medical mistakes. If you are in a facility where nurses seem harried or doctors can’t be bothered to briefly converse with patients on their rounds, that could be a strong sign that you aren’t getting the full attention and care of the staff.
Ask questions and verify everything before you accept treatments or take medication, as you may be able to catch a mistake before it affects you.
Medical professionals that seek you out to apologize
Generally, doctors and nurses don’t have much time to interact in a professional capacity with their patients, let alone acknowledge hiccups that may have occurred during their treatment or interactions. If a medical professional makes a point of talking with you and apologizing, that may be a sign that they know they made a mistake that could have impacted your care.
Hospital administrators that ask you to sign waivers for additional treatment
If someone from the hospital or medical facility comes to you and states that you need additional care and that you must sign a waiver or other documents prior to receiving that care, you could be in a situation where a doctor has made a mistake that must receive immediate attention.
The hospital may try to force you to waive your right to hold their facility or the physician accountable in order to receive the care you need now. If you suspect an error, whether you are waiting for it to get corrected or have already returned home, getting copies of your medical records, compiling detailed notes about your experience and getting advice as soon as possible are all probably in your best interest.