Advice: What to do when medical care goes wrong

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We all visit the doctor for help. We all expect that we will be treated effectively. We all hope we will not have to spend long in their care.

No one visits the doctor expecting that they will suffer further harm. If your illness has been made worse by your medical treatment, your healthcare provider may have fallen short of professional standards.

And when this happens, it is likely to be considered medical negligence.

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is a traumatic experience that no one should have to endure. It occurs when an entirely avoidable accident takes place, causing you harm. It results from the negligence of the healthcare professional responsible for your care.

There are numerous forms of medical negligence, including:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Childbirth and gynaecological errors
  • Damage to nerves
  • Negligence by opticians
  • Dental negligence
  • Hospital negligence

If the care or treatment you were provided with fell short of the minimum standard of competence, you will likely have suffered medical negligence.

The effect of medical negligence

Suffering medical negligence is traumatic and potentially devastating for those who suffer it. It can cause life-changing injuries or illness and take a huge emotional toll.

One significant example of medical negligence is misdiagnosis. If you’ve had an illness misdiagnosed as another, you might receive unnecessary treatment for one condition. Meanwhile, your existing medical problem won’t be treated. This will leave your health at huge risk.

You may also find that you end up suffering emotionally after an experience of medical negligence. As it is such a distressing event, you may find that you end up feeling anxious about receiving further medical treatment. If you were mistreated previously, what guarantee do you have that it won’t happen again?

Financial concerns can also be present after not receiving the right treatment. If you have to then pay for the proper care – which you should have had in the first place – it could cost you a great deal. When you face an unexpected cost, you could find that the rest of your finances are then affected.

Proving medical negligence

If you suffered from medical negligence, it could potentially be difficult to prove it. This is because you will need to show that the harm you suffered was directly caused by your healthcare professional not meeting professional standards.

You will also typically have to prove that the harm you suffered was caused by the negligent treatment you received by the healthcare provider, rather than the existing medical condition you were seeking help for.

This is why collecting as much evidence as possible is essential when you’re looking to prove what happened to you. Witness statements, medical records and any other piece of relevant information can help to show that the treatment you received didn’t actually treat your condition.

Take action

Whether you lodge a formal complaint against the organisation and individual responsible for the medical negligence or you take legal action, the best thing to do can be to act. However, this does of course depend on your specific circumstances and whether it’s appropriate for you.

It’s important to remember that you could achieve the peace of mind you might be longing for if you force those responsible to own up to what happened. Justice doesn’t have to be out of your grasp.