Today we sit down with attorney Mark Mathys to talk about Medical Malpractice cases. Medical malpractice often results in devastating injuries that have a serious, long-term impact on victims. These cases can be difficult to pursue, but Mark, and all the lawyers at Mathys & Schneid, believe in seeking justice when the negligence of a trusted medical professional causes immense harm.
Question 1: How would you define Medical Malpractice?
Mark: Medical malpractice happens any time a health care professional or provider fails to provide appropriate treatment, take appropriate action or provides substandard care that causes harm or death to a patient. In legal terms, it is when a doctor/nurse does not act like a “reasonably careful” doctor/nurse would have acted under similar circumstances. It is also known as a “breach of the standard of care” or “professional negligence.”
Question 2: Studies show an uptick in Med Mal cases between November and February, why do you think that is?
Mark: During holidays, or even on weekends, hospitals may be short-staffed which can prevent patients from receiving the proper monitoring and care they need and deserve. Proper communication between doctors, nurses and other health care professionals is critically important to ensure that patients receive proper care. When holidays or shift changes take place, it disrupts the normal routine established by those health care professionals and, unfortunately, can create gaps in care which can often lead to patients being improperly treated.
Question 3: What are some of the more common types of cases you see?
Mark: Failure to properly diagnose a condition, medication and pharmacy errors, and the failure to promptly treat a condition are unfortunately some of the most common situations we see. These situations all have one common denominator – heath care professionals do not take enough time to care for each patient. I call it assembly line medicine. As our health care system shifts from smaller doctor-owned practices to larger corporate-owned medical practices and hospitals, the medical care provided shifts from being patient-focused to being profit-driven. As a result, these large corporations are sacrificing patient care and forcing doctors and nurses to treat more patients per hour, per shift and per day, than ever before. This assembly line medicine causes serious problems to be overlooked and patients needlessly endangered.
Question 4: Is there any advice you’d like to give?
Mark: Be your own patient advocate – do your own medical research and speak up by telling your doctor about ALL your symptoms, even write them down before your appointment so you don’t forget anything. If you are on medications, type out and give your doctor a list of all the prescriptions you are taking because if you are seeing different specialists they often do not communicate with one another, even though they should. If you are not comfortable with voicing your complaints or just generally shy, bring a family member who will speak for you. We’ve all heard the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Don’t worry about being perceived as rude or loud. This is your health, possibly your life, at stake and nothing can be more important than that. Besides, you are paying for this medical care and this is YOUR time, so force the doctor or nurse to pay attention and understand how you are feeling. You will get better medical care as a result.