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People have great expectations from their healthcare providers. After all, they specialize in treating conditions pertaining to the human body and mind, and we trust them implicitly to do a good job, even though it’s a very difficult job they do.
However, doctors, nurses, and all the staff working in the field of healthcare are as fallible as anyone else. To make matters worse, their mistakes are likely to have severe consequences for the victims considering that it’s human lives at stake.
With this post we are bringing to you three things that healthcare providers do which should be a cause of alarm for you. The aim is not to scare you but to drive home the point that patients today need to be proactive when it comes to dealing with medical practitioners and not shy away from asking questions, raising objections, and seeking assurances, as well as accountability, if the need arises.
Be concerned when you experience any of the following.
A Diagnosis That Doesn’t Quite Seem Correct
Patients usually just assume that they really are suffering from what their doctor just told them. And why wouldn’t they? The doctors know what they are doing, right?
Of course, they do. But they can and do falter. Statistics point to a rather high number of missed diagnoses. This could be because the doctors are overworked, tired, complacent, or simply not paying enough attention. Whatever the reasons, for the patient who has been misdiagnosed, this leads to a traumatic time ahead.
A misdiagnosis can worsen your health. As the patient you are the one who knows best how you feel during a treatment. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to it. Watch the physical sensations in your body closely. You should be able to tell if you are feeling better or worse. And how you are feeling usually does indicate if you are getting better or worse.
Patients often shy away from asking questions to their doctors even when they are not convinced they have been diagnosed correctly, or if the prescribed medication or treatment is having the desired effect. They assume the doctor must be right so they keep undergoing more of the same treatment even when their body is not responding well to it.
Research has found that misdiagnosis kills between 40,000-80,000 people each year in the US. So don’t ignore even the slightest deterioration in your condition. Inform the doctor of how you are feeling, instead of just assuming that he knows exactly how you are coping. If you are not in the condition to do so yourself, have a family member or friend speak to the doctor about it.
When You Are Worse Off Post-Treatment
Certain treatments do not show their adverse effects when they are being carried out. Side-effects can pop up later, and these can be debilitating.
If post-surgery or a treatment you experience something your healthcare provider had failed to inform you about, you must confront them about this.
A healthcare provider or a hospital can be held liable if a treatment ends up causing significantly harmful side-effects, or leads to subsequent corrective treatments.
When You Are Not Being Treated Well
This should be easy to spot if it’s you, but what if the person being mistreated is a family member, and you are not around to see how they are being treated by the hospital staff?
Nursing homes in particular have been found abusing their elderly patients in shockingly high numbers.
This abuse can take a number of forms: use of force against the patient; bullying; not giving them their medication on time; not listening to their complaints of ill-health, or flat out lying to their visitors about the status of their health.
If you have an elderly friend or family member in a nursing home, pay close attention to them the next time you visit them.
• Insist on speaking to them in person (i.e. without the presence of any nurses or support staff around), and encourage them to open up. Elderly people are often frail and if they are being bullied they could be scared to speak to you about the exact nature of the abuse.
• Watch out for any signs of reticence, anxiety, fear, or distress on their part.
• Observe if their personal hygiene is suffering.
• Especially pay attention to marks on their body that could indicate a use of force against them.
• Check for unusual requests for money. If you have been leaving the family member with enough money each time and they still keep asking for more, it is possible they are being threatened and financially abused by someone in the nursing home.
Speak to the authorities without delay if you suspect something is not right. You can also request legal assistance if the nursing home in question is not being forthcoming in its responses to you.
Patients should have a healthy relationship with their healthcare providers, who are duty-bound to take good care of you. But it helps to be proactive about these matters so that you do not end up getting harmed despite the best intentions of your healthcare provider.
If you are based in North Carolina and if you feel you have undergone negligence or malpractice at the hands of your healthcare provider, you might want to get in touch with a Raleigh medical malpractice attorney to learn if you really have a case. Determining medical malpractice can be a complex affair. While any signs of neglect or malpractice should be paid attention to, just because one feels that way does not necessarily mean their doctor or hospital is liable for medical malpractice. This accusation usually comes into picture only when grave amount of damage has been caused to a patient. Let’s hope you never have to experience it. But if you do, or know someone who does, you now know what to do about it.