Doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and even chiropractors are all healthcare providers that we, as seniors, turn to for help when we need it. These people have dedicated years of their lives to studying and serving the patients who rely on their expertise. But the key word in this sentence is “people”.
Just like you and I, healthcare professionals are people too. And like all people they too are capable of making mistakes. But when they make mistakes, they aren’t given a swift slap on the wrist.
They’re awarded medical malpractice lawsuits.
What is Medical Malpractice?
The words “medical malpractice” are not something that a senior citizen ever wants to hear. While many don’t even fully understand what those words mean, they know enough to determine that medical malpractice is—all round—a bad thing.Medical malpractice is the result of healthcare providers deviating from the recognized standard of care in patient treatment.
Can you imagine being misdiagnosed with cancer? Or left in a hospital bed, unmoved, for so long that you develop bedsores? Or being prescribed the incorrect drugs to treat your condition?
The most common types of medical malpractice include aspects of the following:
- Prescription drug errors
- UTIs caused by catheters
- Blood infections caused by catheters
- Blood clots
- Pneumonia that was contracted in hospital
- Falls, which is a particular risk with older people if not properly cared for
Shocking Medical Malpractice Statistics
Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a common occurrence. To drive home the importance of this article, you need to know the facts and statistics. Sometimes, people in positions of authority make the mistake of thinking that it’s easy to pull wool over the eyes of those who are older.
Note that this is not done in the interest of scaring you but in the interest of educating you.
- Globally, 43 million medical malpractice instances occur each year.
- In the US alone, approximately 9.5% of all annual deaths are the result of medical error.
- After heart disease and cancer, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US.
- More than $3 billion was awarded to medical malpractice victims in 2012 alone, with payouts happening every 43 minutes on average.
- Out of all deaths that occur each day, 700 are preventable deaths that occur due to medical negligence.
Don’t Be One of the Statistics
Obviously, finding yourself in a medical malpractice battle is in no way your fault. But there are certain steps you can take to make sure you don’t form part of the scary medical malpractice statistics we shared with you above.
Getting Yourself a Lawyer
The ever-changing modern world can be confusing for senior citizens and so it’s normal to feel a little out of your depth when it comes to legal matters. Our advice: It’s always advised that you lawyer up with a practice that is located in your area, so you don’t have to travel far to get the help you need. For those in the state of Washington, you can reach out to the team at seattlemalpracticelawyers.com for a consultation.
Learn all that you can about your condition to make sure that the suggested course of action is within the normal scope of treatment. Also learn everything there is to learn with regards to the medication you’re prescribed.
Avoiding Hospitals if You Can
If you don’t need to go to the hospital, don’t. It’s that simple. As you get older, trips to the hospital become a much more regular occurrence but we encourage you to only seek medical care from a hospital when it is absolutely necessary.
We’ve previously published an article detailing how to prevent medical errors from happening to you, so if you’re after a more thorough read please do check out that article.
We hope that this article has provided you with valuable information that you’ll hopefully never have to use. As a senior citizen, it is incredibly important to be aware of what to do should you find yourself in scary situations like medical malpractice. Ensure you’re never taken advantage of simply because professionals won’t think you’ll stand up for yourself .
Have you ever had to file a medical malpractice lawsuit? Or, after reading this, do you think you’re going to?
Share your stories with us in the comments section below—your bravery may encourage others to seek the justice that they and their families deserve.
Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.