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How Can I Report Medical Malpractice?

Healthcare is one of the most complicated industries due to the broad spectrum of issues patients bring to their healthcare providers. Sometimes, these providers do not follow the proper protocols and make negligent or dangerous choices that don’t help or can even endanger their patients. When a provider acts in a negligent manner, be it a specific doctor or a hospital, they may be guilty of medical malpractice. Reporting these instances is important to prevent them from happening in the future, but it can feel intimidating to do so if you don’t understand the process.

What is Medical Malpractice?

At its core, medical malpractice is when a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare entity causes an injury to one of their patients through negligence or the intentional omission of important information. There are many ways medical malpractice can occur due to how many steps there are in the medical process, but misdiagnoses, incorrect medications, lack of aftercare information, and poor health management are some of the most common causes. To be more specific, here are some of the most common examples of malpractice:

  • Failure to diagnose a clear issue
  • Ignoring or misreading results from the laboratory
  • Errors in surgery
  • Surgery in the wrong area
  • Surgery that is unnecessary
  • Prescribing the wrong medication or the wrong amount of medication
  • Discharging a patient too early
  • Failure to review or consider patient history
  • Not recognizing clear symptoms
  • Not ordering the proper tests

Before deciding to report a bad medical experience as malpractice, you should ensure that it fits the legal requirements for medical malpractice. For a claim to be considered medical malpractice in a court of law, it must meet these specifications:

  • The healthcare provider violated the standard of care: The standard of care is what the law considers the medical standards that are considered acceptable by health care professionals. When a patient visits a medical professional, they have the right to care that meets these standards. A case can be considered medical malpractice when this standard is broken by a health care provider.
  • Negligence resulted in an injury: A healthcare provider not meeting the standard of care is not enough to create a valid medical malpractice claim. For a claim to be valid, it must be proven that the patient endured an injury that wouldn’t have happened if the provider hadn’t been negligent. An injury without negligence, and negligence without an injury, is not enough to make a claim of medical malpractice.
  • Significant damages due to the injury: For a medical malpractice case to be worthwhile, a victim must prove that the injury they received due to the medical professional’s negligence resulted in significant damages. Medical malpractice cases cost a lot of money to litigate because they require information from a lot of people and hours of testimony. If the damages due to the negligence aren’t very high, it might not be worth pursuing in a court of law. Proving that the injury received caused a disability, extreme pain, a loss of money, or high medical bills may make the expense of a medical malpractice lawsuit worth it.

Reporting Medical Malpractice

Once it is determined that the incident in question qualifies as medical malpractice, it can be decided whether to make a formal complaint against the practitioner or entity that caused the incident. Making such reports can be beneficial for both the injured and future patients. Such reports provide proof of the incident to the state, and the state can take disciplinary action against the healthcare professionals in question so they cannot cause similar injuries to other people.

Who Do I Make a Report of Medical Malpractice To?

Someone who is a victim of medical malpractice and wants to lodge a formal complaint against the healthcare professional in question has a few options regarding where they can lodge their complaint. Such options include:

  • State Medical Boards: Every medical malpractice complaint should be sent to the appropriate state medical board. The process of lodging a complaint differs by state, but the process is usually simple. The patient alleging malpractice will complete a form that lists all the people involved in the incident (themselves, the doctors, etc.) as well as the malpractice that occurred and the resulting harm. Something to note is that submitting a complaint does not guarantee a response, nor does it guarantee that the doctor in question will be sanctioned. However, it is still important to file a report because if a similar report is filed afterwards, the board may notice the pattern and start to investigate.
  • Consumer review sites: Filing the complaint with the state board is meant to provide high-ranking medical officials with information about a health care provider that is not meeting the required standards. However, some patients may feel like they want to share their story with the general public so they can make informed decisions about the medical care they choose to receive. Websites that allow patients to review the care they receive from healthcare professionals are a good tool to make people aware of malpractice because state medical boards do not publicize all reports they receive.

Will I Win a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit if the Medical Board Agrees with My Complaint?

Filing complaints with state or federal medical review boards will not start a lawsuit for the malpractice the patient received, and the complaints will not establish legal medical negligence in the event of a lawsuit. Reports filed with state or federal boards are only effective in preventing negligent doctors and hospitals from continuing to practice. Reports are not the correct method to seek compensation for damages incurred due to medical malpractice.

What Can I Expect After Filing a Medical Malpractice Complaint?

When a complaint is lodged with a medical board against a medical practitioner, that doctor or hospital will be made aware of the complaint. Insurance companies will also be informed, and they can decide whether to offer a settlement to the patient before a potential lawsuit takes place. Accepting this offer, if received, means that the patient can no longer sue regarding the malpractice, therefore giving up the option of seeking legal justice against the person who treated them negligently.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you have been the victim in an incident of medical malpractice or have filed a complaint with a medical board and need further advice regarding your case, contact Pierce, Sloan, Wilson Kennedy & Early LLC today. Our team has over 20 years of extensive experience litigating complicated medical malpractice cases in over 30 states, and our goal is to provide all our clients with compassionate and comprehensive legal representation. We understand that being a victim of medical malpractice is traumatic, and we want to help you seek the justice you deserve. Contact us today at (843) 968-0886 or via our contact page.