Victims of medical malpractice often find that their quality of life has significantly declined due to their doctor's negligence. Fortunately, there are ways that you can hedge your bets against this happening to you -- following are three of them.
Do Your Research
Doing your own research on your medical condition will help demystify the experience for you as well as help you have better communication with your health care professional. You'll be able to ask more pertinent questions, for instance, and you'll know what symptoms to be on the lookout for.
However, you'll only confuse both your doctor and yourself if your research is limited to para-professional websites -- these places often provide misinformation. After all, they're designed to generate ad revenue through clicks, and their articles are rarely written by actual medical professionals. Look for authentic medical and scientific sites instead. You'll have to dig a bit deeper to find them -- if you run the name of your condition through a search engine, the first page of results is likely to be low-information sites with alarmist headlines designed to get you to click on them.
You should start seeing more trustworthy sources at the second or third page of the results. You can always opt to bypass the clickbait altogether and perform your search using Google Scholar.
Communicate Thoroughly With Your Doctor
Good communication provides your health care professional with the knowledge necessary to make an accurate diagnoses and develop appropriate treatment plans. Not only should you clearly describe any and all symptoms -- even those that you believe to be insignificant -- but you should let your doctor know about any medication and supplements you are currently taking. Bring your prescriptions with you when you visit your doctor, and don't neglect to disclose any over-the-counter medications and supplements, even those you only take on an occasional basis.
Describe your symptoms in your own everyday language instead of attempting to use medical terminology. Be as clear as you possibly can, and try to pinpoint where the symptoms are located, how they make you feel, and anything noticeable about their duration. For instance, if they are stronger in the morning than in the evening, that may be important information that your doctor needs to know. Your family history of these types of symptoms will also be a helpful diagnostic tool. Keep in mind that when talking with your doctor about symptoms, it's essential that you don't allow embarrassment or awkwardness to cause you to gloss over anything or completely leave it out.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal with anything relevant to your condition and treatment will provide you with a clear, consistent record in the event that you begin to suspect that your healthcare provider may be misunderstanding your symptoms or not providing the right kind of treatment. Never be afraid to ask for a second opinion, even if all you have to go on is an instinctive feeling that something isn't quite right.
Don't be afraid to ask questions during the course of your treatment. Many patients have been conditioned to view doctors as always being in the right, and others may feel that because doctors are so busy, it isn't right to take up their time with questions. However, healthcare is a service that you are paying for, and you have just as much right to ask questions as you do when ordering a meal in a restaurant. If your doctor is evasive or otherwise doesn't seem receptive to answering your questions, this may be a sign that the time has come to seek a second opinion.
Please don't hesitate to contact a local medical malpractice attorney for more advice if you suspect that your doctor has not been acting in your best interests.