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Physician Fail: How to Recover After Your Doctor Makes a Mistake

When a trusted physician makes a mistake, some patients decide to chalk up the event to “human error” and forgive the transgression. This attitude though can cause a patient more harm than good during recovery: Anger about the event might eat away at you and cause you to fall back on unhealthy habits that undermine your recovery efforts. If you decide to wait to take legal action until after your physical recovery, which can sometimes take years, you might not have a case because states limit the amount of time a patient has to address medical negligence in a court of law. You might not even recover fully because you were harmed far worse than you realized at the time. Recovery is a long process. To make your recovery more efficient and easier, you must be your own advocate at all times. The following tips can help you with this task.

Document Everything that Happened

To help other physicians or possibly an attorney understand what happened to you, it’s critical to document everything related to your doctor’s mistake immediately after you find out that something went wrong. Take notes during your follow-up appointment. If you have already spoken to your doctor, write down everything that they said to you and acquire copies of any physician’s notes and diagnostic test results. Some doctors record their appointments with patients. If you have agreed to these recordings, request electronic copies.

Talk to another Doctor

When a physician fails to provide a patient with the best care, the patient’s trust in their doctor at some level erodes and the doctor-patient relationship breaks down. Also, some doctors downplay their mistakes to prevent lawsuits. You should always talk to another similar physician to get a second opinion about the incident and your health. To prevent a conflict of interest, try to find a physician who is in a different health care system. These actions can do more than give you peace of mind. They can provide you with important insights about the mistake that your physician accidentally or intentionally withheld from you.

Contact a Malpractice Attorney

No matter the type of harm you experienced, a medical malpractice attorney can help you recover in a variety of ways. Once an attorney confirms that you have a case, they can help you gain the compensation needed to pay for future medical bills and other expenses that resulted because of the error. Professionals, like those at R.J. Marzella & Associates, P.C., know that financial help is incredibly important during recovery. Especially if you suffered job loss or you suspect that any future medical appointments or treatments will reduce your income or lead you to a permanent career change or disability. Legal action also brings public attention to the physician and their mistake to help prevent another patient from experiencing a similar situation.

Practice Healthy Recovery Habits

Physical pain and/or limitations caused by a doctor’s failure often cause a patient’s closest relationships, work schedule and normal lifestyle to suffer. Some patients then deal with emotional suffering that drags them down further. To help reduce the impact on your life, update members of your social network about how things have and will likely change during recovery. Take care of yourself by eating balanced, healthy meals, following your new doctor’s mobility and exercise recommendations, and getting plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Additionally, to improve your mental health, join an offline or online support group.

A physician’s failure doesn’t have to destroy your life even if it has resulted in temporary or permanent harm. These steps can help you take back the control that so many patients feel that they lose after a doctor’s mistake. Take these steps toward a healthier and happier life today.

Author Info: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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