• Document all instances of medical negligence, including medical records, appointment notes, test results, and correspondence.
• Understand your legal rights as a disabled patient under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• Speak up for yourself during doctor appointments, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if something doesn’t feel right.
• Seek a second opinion if something isn’t adding up to ensure you receive quality care.
As a disabled patient, you may encounter medical negligence more often than able-bodied patients. This can include doctors not taking your concerns seriously to refusing treatment or misdiagnosis. About one in three malpractice claims are from disabled patients, which is higher than the rate of malpractice suits filed by those without disabilities. But how do you confront negligence without compromising the quality of care you receive?
This blog post will explore some tips for dealing with medical negligence as a disabled patient.
1. Document Everything
Whenever you experience an instance of medical negligence, it’s essential to document everything that happened. Make sure to take notes about all interactions with the doctor or healthcare provider and keep copies of any tests or paperwork given to you. A written record of your experiences will make it easier for you to get help if needed and will provide evidence if there is ever an inquiry into the matter. Make sure to keep copies of the following:
a. Medical records
Most medical institutions have established patient records systems where all your information and treatment histories are documented. It’s important to keep copies of any reports or medical records to ensure that you completely understand your medical history.
b. Appointment notes
When you visit the doctor, note what was discussed and any advice or instructions given. This can help you remember details of the appointment that might be forgotten over time. If a medication was prescribed, make sure to write down the dosage and any other instructions given about the medication.
c. Test results
Many disabled patients may need to undergo tests or scans as part of their treatment. Make sure to get copies of any test results and keep them in your records for future reference.
Any correspondence with the doctor, hospital, or insurance company should be documented and kept for future reference. This includes emails, letters, and phone calls made about your treatment. Often, these documents can help you if there is ever an inquiry into medical negligence.
2. Know Your Rights
In addition, disabled patients need to know their rights to medical care to identify and report any negligence instances. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) outlines specific rights disabled patients have when seeking medical treatment, such as the right to reasonable accommodations and not to be discriminated against based on disability status. Knowing these rights can give you the power and confidence needed when confronting instances of negligence in medicine as a disabled patient.
You can also work with a professional disability attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and provide advice on proceeding if necessary. They can also help you develop a strategy for filing a claim if it comes to that. If you’re unsure where to start, search for attorneys in your area or contact the local bar association for more information. Many lawyers offer a free consultation so you can get an idea of your options without cost.
3. Speak Up for Yourself
It is also important for disabled patients to speak up when they sense something is off with their care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, express your concerns, and make requests during appointments. If something doesn’t feel right or your doctor isn’t listening to your concerns, don’t be afraid to speak up and be assertive about getting the care you need. It might also help to bring a trusted family member or friend with you during appointments who can help advocate on your behalf if necessary.
You should also know when to seek a second opinion if something doesn’t feel right. Your health is too important to be ignored or misdiagnosed, so don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion if something doesn’t add up. Some disabled patients may hesitate to ask for a second opinion, but it could be the difference between receiving quality care and not.
Medical negligence affects many disabled patients worldwide daily—but it doesn’t have to be this way. By following the tips above, disabled patients can take steps to confront and prevent medical negligence. Remember that your rights as a patient are essential, and you should never be afraid to speak up for yourself. With the proper knowledge and strategy, you can ensure that you receive the care and respect you deserve!