Steps to take for those who have suffered because of patient harm
When Texas residents take loved ones to the hospital, they most likely expect them to be treated -- not harmed. Sadly, not everyone gets the treatment they expected. In some tragic cases, patients leave the hospital with a greatly worsened medical condition. The most tragic cases do not allow patients to leave the hospital at all -- medical errors can, in fact, be fatal. For both fatal and non-fatal cases of patient harm, there are steps suggested by a woman representing the group Mothers Against Medical Error.
According to the woman representing the group of parents whose intention is to advocate for safety in medical care, there are general steps people should consider if they find themselves or their loved ones victims to medical errors.
The first order of business is to obtain a copy of all medical records. Patients have a right to their medical records, which can prove useful when determining what exactly went wrong. If the medical error was fatal, ordering a forensic autopsy can also prove useful. While not always entirely reliable, autopsies can again help to determine the nature of the medical mistake. These oftentimes must be requested as it is not routine for hospitals to conduct autopsies.
When the cause of harm or death has been determined, then victims and the families of victims may wish to take certain actions. This action can take the form of meeting with hospital officials and doctors to ask them how they intend to prevent these kinds of medical errors from occurring in the future. Sometimes it takes the form of legal action -- by consulting with an attorney, victims and their families may discover that a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate. These cases can be difficult to win, which is why it is important that all legal action is legally sound and expertly informed.
Source: Truth Dig, "So You've Become a Patient Safety Statistic -- Now What?," Marshall Allen, March 27, 2014