Medical malpractice lawsuits in the US declined in 2021 (likely due to less procedures being performed due to lockdown). 42% of primary care physicians were sued in total, down from 52% in 2019. Usually, over 250,000 patients die every year as the result of medical negligence. Behind cancer and heart disease, it’s the top third cause of death. Fortunately, medical malpractice cases law can help injured patients and their families win compensation for harm caused.
Plastic surgery gone wrong
Plastic surgeons, along with general surgeons, were sued the most (83%) 2021. Next up, were orthopedists (81%) and urologists (80%). “Outside circumstances do play a role in the amount of lawsuits,” explains Leslie Kane, senior director at Medscape Business of Medicine. “One of the phenomena noted during COVID was that people were on Zoom meetings, often for hours a day, and had time to look at their faces in-depth and detail. This definitely led to a larger demand for plastic surgery and more potential for lawsuits.”
Next steps after malpractice
While the quality of medical care today is, on the whole, very good, oversights like misdiagnosis and errors can occur for a variety of reasons like overworked staff and lack of attention to detail. If you feel you’ve been given negligent medical treatment, it’s important to consult an experienced cancer misdiagnosis lawyer as soon as possible. In fact, medical negligence and malpractice cases are bound by a statute of limitations, which means you have a limited time frame in which to file. Deadlines for filing vary from state to state. A medical malpractice attorney can also help gather evidence relating to your case, including your medical records, which are key in helping prove negligence or malpractice occurred.
Advocate for yourself: how to prevent malpractice
By making an effort to advocate for yourself as a patient, you can better minimize your risk of experiencing malpractice or negligence in the first place. In particular, it’s important to maintain a detailed record of your individual health condition, along with any medication and treatments. When meeting with your doctor, always be sure to speak up and ask any questions you have. In fact, you may find it easier to write down your questions in advance and bring them to your appointment with you. Many patients also benefit from attending their appointments with trusted friends or relatives who can help advocate on their behalf.
Although instances of medical malpractice or negligence cases fell in 2021, it’s still unfortunately a common phenomenon. By becoming proactive about your own medical care, you can better avoid negligence. If you do end up on the receiving end of medical malpractice, a lawyer can help recover compensation for the harm caused.