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Steps to take if you have been the victim of a medical error

Many readers of this blog have heard some pretty terrifying accounts of medical mistakes that put the lives and well-being of patients in jeopardy. Stories about foreign objects being left inside people after an operation or defective devices breaking down inside a person's body are unfortunately not uncommon.

However, until and unless a situation like this happens to you, it can be extraordinarily difficult to know what you should do after a medial mistake or misdiagnosis is made. If this is the situation in which you or your loved one has found yourselves, there are some crucial steps you can take to address the problem and protect your well-being.

To begin with, the first person you will want to speak with is the doctor or nurse involved in your care. He or she can explain what happened and help you understand what options there are to address the consequences of a mistake. In some cases, medical professionals are clear and upfront about the situation and the hospital may even cover any expenses related to correcting the problem.

If you are not given this information or satisfactory options for how to deal with the medical fallout, you may need to go above the heads of the doctors and report the incident to the medical licensing board.

In either scenario, you will want to be sure that any deviations in your care are addressed and established. Speaking with another doctor and having that person review your case can be essential in connecting substandard care or a medical mistake to injuries you have suffered. Securing this type of confirmation gives your case merit.

At this point, or even before this point, you can discuss your legal options with an attorney. There are situations in which a hospital or medical professional may try to mislead you or deny any wrongdoing in an attempt to avoid costly payouts, and legal representation can help you address this. Even if a hospital has offered you a settlement, it can be crucial that you understand if what you are being offered is in line with what you deserve.

Source: FindLaw.com, "First Steps in a Medical Malpractice Case," accessed on Jan. 11, 2016

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