How to Deal with Errors in Medical Treatments

Updated on October 6, 2020

Errors do occur in everyday life. When an error occurs during a medical treatment, it may have more far reaching and devasting consequences than simply adding the wrong type of sugar in a small cappuccino. 

Medical care systems vary in different countries. Yet most significant medical treatment occurs in a hospital. It may be public hospital run by a government or a private hospital run by a corporation which is motivated by profit generation. Regardless the type of entity, the medical goal should be the same – i.e, making you feel better. When the doctors who can’t make you better because of an error this is where things can get trickly.

Foyle Legal Medical Lawyers in Perth Western Australia meets people with potential medical negligence cases on daily basis.  Not every medical error is compensable. But some are serious and have long lasting effect to the rest of your lives. In this case, seeking compensation through medical negligence claim is justifiable. 

The most common errors they found associated with medical errors are in the areas of:

  • Incorrect diagnosis 

For example, John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 2 years ago. As a result, he lost his job and was prescribed with associated medication. He was also been sent to assisted living home. 2 years on, His disease did not progress as projected. John is happy and went back to his doctor to adjust medication.  Upon this visit, the doctor run the Alzheimer diagnostic test again. It turns out that John passed with flying colour. John is now cleared from Alzheimer’s disease. But he has already lost his job and gave up on the apartment he used to have.

  • Not mentioned the treatment risks to the patient

For example, Mary was admitted to hospital due to a fall. The doctor prescribed her with pain killer to ease the pain but did not warn her of the side effects. After been on the medication for several days, she then attended a Christmas Party organised by her work where she consumed alcohol. Due to the influence of the drug and alcohol, her behaviour rapidly altered and resulted her being dismissed due to inappropriate workplace behaviour. 

  • Errors doing the birth process

This is a very common area of medical malpractice. The error can be on the part of the surgeon, the doctor, the equipment malfunctioning, nurses, drugs used, etc. This is very common area of medical error and it’s the one we should all be cautious about.

  • Issues with referrals

In Western Australia. The common practice is for GP to provide a referral for the specialist to further investigate the causes of the medical issues. Most of the GPs are very good at providing referrals however, some GPs are very reluctant to provide referral which result in delays in treatment. And the delay has caused the sickness been further escalated.

  • Fall or Trip in the Hospital 

Fall or trip and fall incidents in the hospital is more common than we think. Foyle Legal Public Liability Claims team receives many enquires in relation to the fall in the hospital. In this situation, the medical error often related to not performing the safety audit properly, or not following safety protocol. 

In addition to engaging a personal injury lawyer. There are other ways to deal with errors associated with medical treatments. Such as:

  • Complain to the hospital
  • Complain to a professional body such as APHRA
  • Complain to the manufacturer of the equipment.

Regardless which route you are taking to deal with your medical error, the most important step is gathering evidence to support your claim or complaint. The evidence gathering process itself can be costly and time consuming. This is the reason why many people either do not pursue a medical negligence claim or try to do it all by themselves.

Your health is the most important asset in your life. If you suspect of any errors, it is important to get a second opinion, especially the diagnosis is a surprise to you! It doesn’t usually hurt to gain a second opinion when the sakes is high.  We live in a litigious society. The aim of litigation is to create benchmark standards for the medical profession and avoid further errors. If litigation is not the preferred route for you, at least a second opinion will benefit you from your diagnosis and treatment. 

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