As a patient, you know when something seems wrong with your medical care. But how are you supposed to know if it is a medical mix-up or medical malpractice?
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient.”
Medical mix-ups, on the other hand, may be closer to patient experiences that do not result in any injuries. For example, a physician picks up the wrong patient folder and addresses the patient by the wrong name, but then corrects the mistake after the patient and physician confirm the error.
Of course, not all situations are black and white, and you may not know the “accepted norms” in order to judge the situation. Sometimes you may not know you have been injured until after a visit or procedure, such as when patients are prescribed the wrong medications. In other circumstances, it may seem obvious that the care you receive is not right and should be addressed.
Taking the Next Step
While your experience could have been a medical mix-up, meaning it does not qualify as medical malpractice, the best solution is to speak with a seasoned medical malpractice attorney. You can explain what occurred and ask questions of a professional who understands the law and how it may be applied to your matter. They can help you clarify the severity of the situation and, if necessary, take the matter to the next level.
It can be difficult to know if your experience is a medical mix-up or malpractice, but the important thing is to follow your gut. If you believe something is not right with the care you received, then speak with an attorney. You at least have the peace of mind you deserve and the representation you need if you want to move forward with a lawsuit.