When we think of a medical malpractice lawsuit we usually think of it from the doctor’s point of view. There is, however, the point of view of the patient and family members. Today it’s not only important that doctors keep accurate files but the patients should do so as well.
When filing a medical malpractice suit one of the first things an attorney will look for is all information to help their client. The doctor should have full documentation, so it makes sense that the patient should have it as well. Keep in mind that a fully documented file by the doctor will in all likelihood negate anything the patient or their attorney may present if every “t” isn’t crossed and every “i” dotted. A doctor may have full documentation where as the patient thinks the results of the procedure alone is enough to prove their case. A patient’s say-so versus a physician’s full documentation will in all likelihood bode in the favor of the doctor or surgeon.
This does not mean the doctor is always right. If you keep detailed and accurate notes, including date, time, and details of what happened, there have been many cases where a patient’s notes were BETTER than the doctor’s documentation, and a botched procedure was awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit based on the detailed notes kept by the patient and his family.
This not only includes the procedure itself but full documentation of any and all consultations and check-ups leading up to your operation. Here are a few things that the doctor will have and that you should keep track of as well to help avoid major medical malpractice:
1. Full documentation of medical history.
2. Consultations, tests, and physical findings leading up to main procedure. This will include any phone calls and the final diagnosis of what course the physician will follow..
3. Treatment agreed upon during and after the procedure. This needs to be clear and concise with no misunderstanding as to what has been told to you. If you can have a witness present this would be good as the doctor in all likelihood will have a nurse or assistant in the room.
The truth is that there can never be enough documentation. Once the doctor’s malpractice attorney feels that you have not kept good enough records they will aggressively pursue a judgement in favor of their client. Although this information is specifically for the client, it can benefit the physician as well during a medical malpractice lawsuit. While a patient may have total documentation it can be perceived differently upon inspection by representation of both parties. Hopefully both parties will be able to have correct information, so that all testimony and evidence can be corroborated to come to a satisfying conclusion.