Depressed woman leans against window.

“It’s all in your head.”

“You’re too young to be having those symptoms.”

“There isn’t anything else we can do for you.”

“It’s just stress.”

If you’ve heard those words (or similar) from your doctor, you’re probably frustrated and looking for answers. You may even be wondering, “Can I sue my doctor for not helping me?”

You’re not alone. Search for the hashtag “PatientsAreNotFaking” on Twitter, and you’ll see hundreds of stories from patients who felt dismissed or ignored by their health care providers.

Born in response to a viral video of a nurse mocking patients who “fake” their symptoms, the hashtag brought to the surface an issue that has been bubbling underneath for years: Doctors don’t always help. Sometimes, they do harm.

Suing a doctor for negligence isn’t an easy task, but it’s a possible (and necessary) step for those who have suffered because their doctors misdiagnosed or ignored their symptoms. Do you believe your doctor is guilty of negligence? Contact Hampton & King today to learn what you can do to file a claim and get compensation for your suffering.

Doctor looks like he doesn't believe patient.

“My doctor won’t help me”

“My doctor won’t help me…” Countless frustrated patients have uttered those words.

Sure, there are plenty of caring, compassionate health care providers. But there are also doctors who discriminate against or ignore patients based on their preconceived notions about them.

As a teen, singer-songwriter Halsey endured excruciating pain. Doctors told her she was too young to have any serious diseases, and was being “a big baby” about her pain. She was finally diagnosed with endometriosis at age 22.

Brittany Bella Graham’s doctor prescribed muscle relaxers for her aching back. The pills didn’t help. In fact, they gave her a painful ulcer. What Brittany really had was pancreatic cancer. But she didn’t find out until her doctor reluctantly prescribed an MRI after Brittany threatened to switch providers.

Like so many others, Halsey and Brittany have come to the realization that doctors aren’t always saints. Sometimes, they’re the complete opposite.

“Doctors aren’t saints”

Besides anecdotal evidence, there’s a wealth of research backing up the reality of medical bias.

Studies prove that doctors prescribe less medication to people of color than white people with the same illnesses. Other studies show that doctors are more likely to think women and black people are faking or exaggerating their symptoms than other groups.

In addition, doctors themselves have admitted that “physician ego” gets in the way of quality care. In the words of Eugene Gu, MD (shared on Twitter):

People deserve to know the truth. Doctors aren’t saints or morally superior people. We’re human beings who make mistakes and can dismiss the concerns of patients out of ego or pride because we think we know better than you do for your own bodies. It’s wrong.

Consequences of Doctor Negligence

Doctors who refuse to listen to their patients or provide adequate treatment can cause irreversible harm. Here are some of the most common consequences:

  • The patient’s condition worsens.
  • The patient suffers from anxiety when no diagnosis is given.
  • An injury occurs because the doctor gave incorrect advice or medications.
  • The patient loses his or her life due to delayed treatment or misdiagnosis.
  • Medical bills pile up when more treatment is needed to fix a doctor’s mistakes.

A sign that has the words help, support, and advice.

Suing a Doctor for Negligence

“Can I sue my doctor for not helping me?”

That depends on whether your doctor’s lack of “help” will hold up in court as negligence.

Before suing a doctor for negligence, you should seek the advice of a medical malpractice attorney. Your lawyer will ask you to share the details of your case, such as when it occurred, what evidence you have, and what harm you suffered as a result.

The attorney will also explain your state’s rules for suing a doctor for negligence. States vary in the amount of time they allow for filing a claim after malpractice has occurred. Some states put a cap on the amount of damages you can collect.

If your lawyer determines you have grounds for suing, the next step is to begin the claims process. This step involves gathering evidence and getting testimony from expert witnesses, such as other doctors who have treated patients with your condition.

What will you need to win your medical malpractice case? There are a few important elements you’ll need if you want to hold a doctor liable for negligence:

  1. You need to show that the doctor’s actions were negligent, as legally defined. In other words, you need to prove that the physician didn’t do what any “reasonably competent” doctor would have done.
  2. You must prove that the misdiagnosis, lack of treatment, or delay in treatment harmed you in some way.
  3. You must file your claim within the statute of limitations. This means you have to sue your doctor within a certain number of years after the negligence occurred. The statute of limitations varies by state.

To find out more, contact Hampton & King to schedule your initial consultation. Our medical malpractice experts will guide you through the process of suing your doctor for negligence, and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.