Per the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA), medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the USA following behind only heart disease and cancer. That is a staggering thought and yet it is reported by the Doctor’s largest national organization. It is estimated that these preventable medical errors kill about 200,000 Americans a year. That is not good. It is also well known and has been reported by a public health study at Harvard that only one in eight of these events ever gets reported. Shocked? Don’t be. This is reality. A further reality is that very few medical malpractice events end up in litigation chiefly because of the laws protecting the health care field and limiting the rights of those victimized by this epidemic of carelessness.

That said, in 2012 over $3 billion was paid in med mal payouts.

Medical malpractice or medical negligence means a “breach of the prevailing professional standard of care”. Put another way, it is a question about what a reasonably prudent medical provider would or would not have done under the same or similar circumstances.

There are things you can do to avoid this happening to you or a loved one:

1. Be your own health care advocate. Ask questions and demand some level of explanation about prescriptions, diagnostics, and reasons behind treatment by your Doctor.

2. Carry a list of your medications and a “laundry list” of your personal health history and issues to your appointments or when otherwise receiving care. Hand it to the Doctor and keep a copy for yourself.

3. Ask about treatments and treatment options before agreeing to any procedure, medication or surgery. This alerts the Doctor you are paying close attention. (its true, the squeaky wheel gets the grease).

4. When you are told what your problem or diagnosis is, or a particular course of treatment is offered, ask the doctor to explain the condition to you, what he hopes to achieve with the treatment, and what you can expect.

5. If something seems wrong with your health or those of a family member, especially after a procedure, appointment or diagnostic test, ask the Doctor to explain it to you. Ask her or him whether everything went ok. If not, why not?  Regrettably, you may not always get the truth but, I am sensing that if a health care provider is giving you a bunch of bologna, you may smell it or become suspicious enough to contact someone who can find out what has occurred.

6. If you think you or someone you care about has been injured because of Medical Malpractice, contact a veteran Med Mal trial attorney. Med Mal is highly specialized. Few lawyers actually really litigate these claims…a lot may advertise it, but they simply refer the cases out when they receive them. Go to the actual lawyer.

The McLeod Firm has been engaged in medical negligence litigation and trial work since 1989. No lawyer in St. Johns, Flagler or Putnam County has tried or handled the number of cases Mac McLeod has, not even close. It is not an area of the law you can just do “some of”…you must always be engaged in it and have broad and demonstrable history and experience in to be successful.