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Medical Malpractice & Failure to Follow Up


Medical Malpractice Explained

When we talk about medical malpractice, we are discussing instances where the trust we place in our healthcare providers is sometimes broken. Medical malpractice takes place when a healthcare provider strays from the accepted "standard of care" in treating a patient, thereby breaching their duty of care towards the patient.

Duty of care describes the obligation to maintain a reasonable level of care in actions that could predictably cause harm to others. It's about doing what's expected in their professional capacity.

When a duty of care isn’t honored, the consequences can be life-altering for patients. Understanding these legal standards is the first step in recognizing when something has gone awry in the medical care you've received.

Failure to Follow Up Can Be an Act of Malpractice

A key part of medical professionals’ duties is taking the time to:

  • help patients understand what their care entails,
  • check on patients after an operation, appointment, or referral,
  • keep detailed records on patients’ concerns and care,
  • contact patients if they miss appointments or start a new medication,
  • review test results and diagnoses thoroughly, and
  • follow up with the patient while they are under their care.

When healthcare providers neglect the crucial step of following up with their patients, the fallout can be severe. A simple oversight can lead to a patient's condition worsening or the emergence of preventable complications that could have been managed with timely intervention.

Recognizing a failure to follow up can be challenging, as it often involves understanding nuanced aspects of patient care. It's not just about missed appointments; it's about whether the healthcare provider offered the necessary guidance and took appropriate actions to ensure continuity of care.

Failure to properly follow up with a patient can happen at any time during their care. Examples of how failure to follow up can occur include (but are not limited to):

  • Missing critical diagnoses. If a doctor fails to follow up on abnormal test results or symptoms, a serious illness could be missed and worsen over time. This can be especially harmful in cases where early detection is crucial for successful treatment.
  • Failing to order necessary tests. If a doctor doesn't follow up to order additional tests that may be necessary based on initial findings, a patient's condition could deteriorate without proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Improper medication management. Not monitoring medication side effects or failing to adjust dosages as needed can lead to adverse reactions or worsening of a patient's condition.
  • Delayed referrals to specialists. If a doctor fails to refer a patient to a specialist when necessary, it can cause a delay in getting appropriate treatment, potentially leading to poorer outcomes.
  • Increased complications. Not following up on a patient's post-operative care or neglecting to address complications that arise after a procedure can lead to serious health problems.

When these lapses in care lead to harm, they may constitute medical malpractice. Patients need to be aware of these signs and understand that they have the right to expect diligent care from their medical providers.

Steps to Take When Suspecting Malpractice

If you suspect that you've been a victim of medical malpractice due to a failure to follow up, it's important to take measured steps to protect your rights. The first move is often to obtain a copy of your medical records and review them thoroughly.

If something doesn't add up, it may be time to consult with a legal expert who specializes in medical malpractice. These professionals can help decipher the complexities of your case and advise on the best course of action.

Time is of the essence due to the statute of limitations on malpractice claims, so it's crucial to act promptly if you believe you've been wronged. In South Carolina, you have three years from the date the injury was discovered or the incident occurred to file a suit.

Be Empowered to Take Charge in Your Care

Patients, too, have a role to play in ensuring their own well-being. It's important to be proactive about your health care, which includes being informed about your treatment plan and understanding the importance of follow-up care.

Don't hesitate to ask your healthcare provider questions about what to expect after a procedure or treatment, and make sure you understand how and when to report any post-treatment symptoms. You should make sure that you show up for appointments and adhere to medical instructions.

Comprehensive Counsel

At Site:BusinessName}, we understand the legal complexities of medical malpractice and the profound impact such cases can have on your life. If you believe you suffered because of a failure to follow up, we can help you build your case and handle the negotiations or litigation. Known for our commitment to excellence and attention to detail, our experienced team is committed to advocating for our clients’ right to fair compensation.

Let’s discuss your case. Call (843) 968-0886 to schedule an initial consultation.

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