Medical Malpractice and Patients Rights

Each day, people put their trust, and their very lives, in the hands of healthcare facilities and medical providers such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and physician’s assistants. When medical malpractice happens, some people fail to recognize it. As for the ones that do, they often feel they have no rights. A medical malpractice attorney can discuss your rights as a patient with you and help you understand what medical malpractice is and what it is not.

Patients’ Rights

Essentially, protecting patient rights an ethical necessity for medical professionals. The American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics states that the well-being of patients is based on the foundation of a collaborative effort between both the patient and the doctor. The Your rights of a patient include:

  • The Right to Access Your Medical Records

Medical records are yours, even though your healthcare provider stores them. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guarantees your right to review and obtain copies of your own medical records.

  • Right to Privacy

HIPAA steps in to protect each patient’s right to privacy. The law limits access to your records by others and assures your health information remains private. HIPPA’s Privacy Rule ensures that you or your designated representative are the only people who can access your medical records.

  • Right to Information

Medical providers are obligated to provide you with necessary information concerning your health so you can make informed decisions about your medical needs. If you’ve had any surgical procedures, you’ve been subject to this right to information, known as informed consent. In the informed consent process, the doctor explains the surgical procedure, the risks associated with it, and offers relevant alternatives.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is negligence or an error on the part of a medical provider or medical facility  during the course of diagnosing or treating a patient. Medical facilities and healthcare providers include hospitals, urgent care and other clinics, doctors, nurses, and any hospital workers who may contribute to an error.

If you believe you have received an injury or been harmed by shoddy medical treatment, you probably want to find out if the situation qualifies as a medical malpractice case. Determining medical malpractice can be tricky—sometimes, the lines are blurred. However, to claim medical malpractice, the medical professional of facility must violate the established standard of care.

Not Medical Malpractice

At times, medical providers put forth their best efforts to apply the best diagnostic procedures or treatments for a patient. Sadly, the outcomes are not always favorable. However, this does not necessarily mean the medical provider did anything wrong.

When the end result is not the success they anticipated, many patients resort to blaming the physician. If the medical professionals were not negligent and met the established standard of care, the result probably does not rise to the level of medical malpractice.

To discover whether or not you actually have a case, seek the counsel of an attorney with a  focus in the area of medical malpractice. Be mindful, though, statutes of limitations exist which define the lengths of time in which patients have to file their lawsuit.