In his book "The Life You Save — Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care and Avoiding the Worst," author Patrick Malone reports that mistakes by doctors, surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals result in more deaths each year than breast cancer, AIDS and motor vehicle accidents combined. By some estimates, nearly 40,000 acts of oversight or outright mistakes occur in American hospitals, medical clinics and nursing homes every day.
At DeLuca & Weizenbaum, Attorneys at Law, we believe that each doctor and hospital has a a responsibility to their patients and the community to provide the highest level of preventive care, diagnosis and medical treatment up to the standards of their profession. But we also know that doctors, nurses and hospital administrators are human and likely to continue to make mistakes. When mistakes cause serious injury or death, the profession is liable for paying compensation to the victim and family.
At our firm, we also believe patients need information to select a doctor or hospital that meets their needs.
What Are You Looking for in a Doctor or Health Care Provider?
- Personal relationship: Your relationship with your doctor will likely become very personal as the years progress. Make sure your doctor is rated to give the highest quality care in the specific area of diagnosis and treatment you need.
- Communication: Your body isn't a mechanical machine and doctors aren't technicians. Make sure your doctor communicates well and can talk to you in a clear, friendly and professional manner. Find a doctor who is comfortable talking about complex medical issues in plain language.
- Preventative health care: Your doctor should be interested in keeping you healthy, not just treating you for health problems as they arise. It is your responsibility to follow safe preventative health measures. Be your own advocate. If you don't trust the prevention tips recommended by your doctor, make sure you can freely express why.
- Works within your hospital and health plan: Not every doctor has privileges to work in the hospital you may choose, in the event you are hospitalized. Make it one of your first questions to ask which hospitals your doctor works in. Unless you are prepared to pay out-of-pocket for medical care, also make sure your doctor is a recognized provider for your health care plan.
- History and solid professional reputation: Investigate your doctor's relationship with your state's medical licensing board. Determine whether the doctor has faced disciplinary board hearings for questionable decisions or has been sued for negligence in the past. Not all information will be available to the public.
- Professional relationships: No doctor does everything. Ask about relationships with professional medical services for outside lab tests, MRI and CT exams, etc. Investigate the proficiency and reputation of the contracted medical service providers your doctor relies on.
- Mutual respect: There is no excuse for a doctor to treat you with disrespect. It's your body and your life. Listening to your needs and health concerns should be your doctor's first priority during every visit.
- Ask questions: Doctors in health care clinics are often rushed and under a tight time restriction with each patient. Nonetheless, your doctor should encourage you to ask questions. A good doctor will understand that you may not know what questions to ask and anticipate some of the concerns you may have while treating your health problem.
Our attorneys are ready to answer your questions about how to choose a doctor and ways you can protect yourself from medical care that is below standards. If you think you have suffered an injury or medical harm because of a mistake made by a health care provider in Rhode Island, talk to us first. We believe strongly that it is our responsibility as legal professionals to protect your rights and hold licensed professionals to the highest standards of care our society expects. We do this work because it is the right thing to do. We are committed to obtaining justice for people who have been injured because other people and companies failed to live up to their responsibilities.
From our offices in Providence, we represent people injured by medical care that does not meet the accepted standards in communities throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your legal options. Contact us today to arrange a no-cost consultation.