Medical malpractice is a broad term that encompasses a variety of acts. Sometimes, cases of such negligent medical malpractice are difficult to prove, either because the court system requires so much evidence or because the issue is so complex that patients aren't sure where to begin.
In fact, even in clear-cut cases of medical negligence, sometimes patients still aren't sure whether they are victims of malpractice. Medical science is complicated and can feel overwhelming. In some instances, though, the wrongdoing is obvious and immediately apparent. Regardless, if you have been the victim of such dangerous or negligent care, you may not be sure what to do next or how to proceed. There are steps you can take to get the help you need and hold the wrongdoer accountable for his or her actions.
When and how to file a complaint
If you believe that a doctor or other medical professional has harmed you or someone you love, consider the following steps:
- Recognize the cause
- Contact the police
- Contact your state medical board
- Gather your records
Acting swiftly and securing as much evidence as quickly as possible will help you build the best case against the wrongdoer.
Recognize the cause
Any time you suspect yourself to be the victim of medical negligence, you should consider taking action, even if the situation feels confusing. This could involve cases of poor medical care such as dishonesty, a delay in giving upsetting test results or a timely diagnosis, or even overprescribing or mis-prescribing medication. If you are uncertain, you may wish to consider seeking the counsel of a legal professional who can offer advice on your situation.
Certain instances of medical malpractice, however, call for a more immediate response. This would include cases of sexual or physical abuse from your doctor, but also if you suspect your physician is practicing medicine while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Contact the appropriate authorities
In serious cases involving sexual or physical abuse, you will want to contact the police first to file criminal charges.
Every state has an agency in charge of licensing and disciplining physicians, and many states make it easy to file an online complaint against a physician. If you are unable or uncomfortable with using the internet to do so, you can also call the board for assistance.
Gather your records
It's wise to send a copy of your complaint to the board along with copies of your medical records and any other documents that support your case. The board will then assign an analyst who may contact you for additional information. Next, the state board will determine whether the case requires further investigation and make a final ruling.
Apart from any medical board investigation is you and your own personal health and well-being. If a healthcare professional's negligence or misconduct resulted in serious injury to you in any way, you may want to consider seeking the counsel of a Massachusetts attorney with experience in medical malpractice cases. A lawyer familiar with the complex laws surrounding medical negligence can review your case and documentation and offer guidance as to how best to proceed.