It is scary enough to face a life-threatening illness or injury, but when one stops to consider the fact that doctors are human beings and can make mistakes just like every other human being, the level of anxiety can skyrocket. It is, unfortunately, the truth, though. Every year, medical professionals make mistakes that cost people their lives. According to experts, these mistakes are the third leading cause of death, following closely behind heart disease and cancer. They have also cost medical facilities upwards of three billion dollars per year in recent years.
It is important to understand before you visit your physician or the local St. Petersburg medical facilities that you could wind up being one of these statistics. Though that is not meant to scare you, it is meant to serve as a reminder that you must be a vigilant patient. You should act as your own advocate to defend against the mistakes that could cost your quality of life, or worse.
Insurance Companies are Not Your Friends. When you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, and it is recognized as such by the medical facility and the insurance company, a settlement will likely be offered. Do not talk about the problem with anyone until you have legal representation. A personal injury attorney will help ensure that you receive fair compensation for the harm that you suffered. The same is true if you have lost a loved one due to a doctor’s mistake. All too often, these settlements are offered quickly, in the hopes of appeasing the patient before the true extent of the damage is recognized. The insurance company is not looking out for your best interests.
There are Statutes of Limitation at Play. Florida State Law dictates that a medical malpractice case must be filed within two years of the negligence being discovered. There are further stipulations and exceptions to this rule, which is why it is so important to speak to a Saint Petersburg attorney if you believe that a medical professional acted with negligence. Do not wait to do so. It can take time to compile a case, so waiting until the last minute, just before the Statute of Limitations comes into play, is ill-advised.
While knowing what to do once medical malpractice has been experienced is important, it is even more essential to know what you can do to prevent the situation all together. Do not be intimidated by a doctor. Though they hold special licenses, they are only human and, as we have stated above, they do make mistakes as we all do. If you do not feel comfortable with a diagnosis, prescription, or recommendation for care, then speak up. If you cannot get the answers you are looking for, or feel that you are being bullied by a medical professional, do realize that there are others willing to provide second opinions. It is your right to make the final decision when it comes to maintaining your health, so never follow through with a treatment plan that makes you feel uneasy or uncertain.
When going to an important doctor appointment, take a family member along. The added support can be a big help. It is also helpful to have an extra set of eyes and ears witnessing what takes place. While we all want to feel safe when in the presence of a doctor, one must never assume that a license makes a person any less human.