Nobody wants to become the victim of a medical mistake, but is there anything you can do to prevent it from happening? When you're sick, it's easy to feel powerless over your situation. That tends to make people feel as if there's nothing they can do but put their faith in the doctors and nurses in charge of their care.
If you're injured by a doctor or hospital's negligence, you generally have a right to sue that doctor or hospital -- unless you're a member of the military and the doctor or hospital that messed up your care happens to be a military doctor or hospital.
If you have any kind of serious or chronic health condition, you want your doctor to be candid about the risks you face during any course of treatment or surgical procedure.
Ordinarily, if a hospital, nurse or doctor commits a grave act of negligence that seriously injures you or kills your loved one, you can sue for malpractice.
Cancer is one of the most common health problems people can face. According to government statistics, more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer each year, and more than 600,000 will die.
If you're 40 or older, you probably remember a time when every doctor's office had shelves of paper files that contained the important medical records of each patient who passed through the doors. Somewhere along the line, that changed. It gradually became the norm to keep patient records on computerized files.
Many personal injury attorneys say that there's a perception that medical malpractice cases are overblown. That perception sometimes affects the way that a jury sees a case.
If you don't have medical insurance at all -- or, perhaps, have medical insurance that's provided through a government assistance program like Medicaid -- do you get subpar treatment when you see a doctor or end up in the emergency room of the local hospital?
It's frustrating -- even infuriating -- to find out that your doctor botched a diagnosis. Maybe you came in complaining of pain, and your doctor (wrongly) assured you it was nothing to be concerned about. Maybe your doctor gave you a diagnosis that just turned out to be way off the mark. Either way, you've certainly got a good reason to be upset.
Almost every hospital, clinic and doctor's office now relies on electronic medical records to keep track of their patient's medical histories. For many patients, this could be a nightmare.