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What should I do if I suspect a hospital was negligent?

When entering a hospital or other healthcare facility to receive treatment, we are placing our faith in the doctors and staff. We trust they are capable of giving us the care we need and in most cases, that trust is justified.

Unfortunately, sometimes mistakes are made, and patients are injured. When this happens, patients and their families should have some way of finding out what transpired and who is responsible.

The founder of Mothers Against Medical Error recommends that patients who have been injured while receiving treatment at a healthcare facility take the following steps:

  • See to it that an internal report is made regarding the injury. Accredited hospitals should have established procedures for dealing with medical incidents or with situations that could result in patient harm. It is required that internal investigations are conducted.
  • Obtain copies of pertinent medical records. Medical records can contain valuable information that can tell what happened and what may have gone wrong during a hospital stay. You have a legal right to these records.
  • Discuss the matter directly with hospital officials and the doctor involved. In the case of patient injuries or death, you may be able to negotiate medical bill waivers or appropriate compensation.
  • If the patient died while receiving treatment, have a forensic autopsy conducted. The autopsy should include a toxicology test. Hospitals do not typically perform autopsies, but it is the family's right to have one done.

Another recommendation made by the founder of Mothers Against Medical Error is that an attorney be hired to represent the patient's interests. An attorney can work with the hospital officials when negotiating compensation or other terms. An attorney can also assess a patient's case to determine if it is plausible to initiate a medical malpractice case.

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