We are contacted by people who want to sue their doctors on a daily basis. What makes them feel the need to do so? In fact, there are many “patients” who have been mishandled and mistreated with dire consequences who do not consider suing. Why is this? Why do some people seem eager to forgive while others are eager to take legal action? Oddly enough, this potentially life-altering decision seems to have more to do with the doctor’s bedside manner than his or her competence. A “nice” doctor may get a better break from a patient than one with poor bedside manners.
Here are some additional reasons people are hesitant to pursue legal action against their doctor:
1. I Was Warned
A common complaint is the feeling there was a shortage of information given about the risks of the procedure the patient is facing. A doctor must obtain INFORMED consent from a patient. That implies a duty on the physician to do more than wave a small-print document in front of a stressed-out patient for a signature. Here’s a little-known fact though: even if you gave careful consent for a procedure and you knew there were risks, that consent does NOT prevent all successful lawsuits. A patient rarely waives negligence. For example, dying is a risk of every anesthetic procedure. An unexpected allergic reaction to the anesthesia MAY be an unavoidable risk. If the anesthetist is texting a friend instead of paying attention to your vital signs, that’s a risk you did not sign up for.
Whether your doctor did a great job explaining things or whether no explanation was given, whether you signed consent or whether you did not, you may still have a great cause of action. Check with us at Robinson LLP. It may be well worth investigating further.
2. It Was a Tough Diagnosis
Sometimes making your diagnosis is not straight forward. And sometimes, your doctor would like you to think that it was incredibly tough. A lack of diagnosis or the wrong diagnosis can lead to an adverse outcome for you. Just because your doctor would like you to believe a superhuman effort was made to eventually get to the right answer, don’t believe it. If there has been a delay in diagnosis or if you have been treated or medicated for an illness you do not have, you may have the potential for a good lawsuit. It would be a rare doctor who actually admitted to screwing up!
3. My Doctor is Sorry
Of course, many people have a great and even long-term relationship with their doctor. And they feel sorry for the physician who has made a mistake, especially if the doctor has expressed sympathy or has even apologized. Guess what? We all make mistakes. You may feel very sorry for the 16-year-old driver who stands sobbing on the roadside after driving smack into your brand new car. However, you don’t then offer to pay for your own vehicle damages. That’s how insurance works! Doctors have a fund that covers the cost of a lawyer and any damages paid out on their claim. It’s not coming out of your doctor’s wallet when you make a legal claim!
4. Only a Specialist Could Have Helped
A doctor cannot be knowledgeable in every area. However, false reassurances cannot be made if a disease process doesn’t fit into that doctor’s knowledge base. Every doctor is supposed to recognize when a condition merits another set of eyes. You are entitled to an appropriate referral that takes place at an appropriate speed. If your condition required a quicker diagnosis and treatment to have a better outcome, you may well have the potential for a successful lawsuit.
When Should You Sue Your Doctor?
In reality, every poor outcome from health care is not due to negligence and does not warrant a lawsuit, but if you are concerned, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer at Robinson LLP. Medical negligence actions are complicated and lengthy. However, the complications that arise from negligent treatment by the medical profession may also be complicated and lengthy. If you have suffered a serious consequence of potential medical malpractice, contact us by filling in our online form. You may well be able to collect compensation for the terrible consequences you face.