The sweltering heat isn’t the only thing you should look out for in the late summer months. Come July, medical students take their places in white coats — a phenomenon many call the “July effect.” As these young medical professionals take on residencies and new positions in healthcare, patients could be at a higher risk as safety and reliability are compromised.
It’s not a good idea to avoid a hospital trip, but there are a few things to know before making the trip. It is essential to be aware of the risks associated with medical malpractice throughout the year, especially in July.
How Common is Medical Malpractice?
Nobody is perfect, but the medical profession carries many risks when dealing with inexperienced healthcare professionals. Understanding medical malpractice and the rights of the patient is the best way to be proactive.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor makes an error. Since it is their responsibility to take the proper precautions, they are legally responsible for the damages if anything procedurally is neglected. With any medical treatment, there is a risk, but it is exceptionally high with new doctors.
Unfortunately, it’s one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Not including the unreported or misidentified cases, the 250,000 deaths each year make medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the country. These errors can occur in any medical situation.
Is the Emergency Room a Higher Risk?
Still, some of the most common instances happen during surgical procedures, labor, and delivery, anesthesia administration, or misdiagnosis, improper prescriptions and poor safety practices.
The emergency room receives all sorts of medical cases. Because of the high volume of patients and priority, the pressure on the doctors can lead to misdiagnosis. These accidents can make severe conditions life-threatening, especially strokes, heart attacks, appendicitis, meningitis and pulmonary embolisms.
Even lower-risk injuries could lead to errors that create further issues down the road. “Your health should be the number one priority,” says Michael J. Bonvolanta, attorney for Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. “A hospital should be a place that you feel safe and protected.” Serious conditions and injuries can’t wait, but patients can take a few steps to help avoid these common mistakes and protect themselves against malpractice.
Navigating Hospital Safety
The July effect is no reason to avoid the hospital if there is a medical emergency. In the case of a medical emergency, patients can take these steps to help protect themselves from mistakes in the hospital:
- Avoid trips in July for elective surgeries
- Have your medical record and medication list updated and readily available
- Be involved and ask any questions that you have
- Trust your gut and get a second opinion if needed
- Seek help if you suspect medical malpractice
Patients or families involved in medical negligence cases should seek assistance from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to receive proper compensation. These cases are complicated and require a timely response. Malpractice cases also require substantial documentation, expert witnesses and medical records to ensure the issue has seamless proof of the incident.
Because the trials are extensive, financial outcomes are substantially more significant for those who hire qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorneys. Victims of medical negligence should act quickly to ensure their case has substantial evidence and meets the short deadlines associated with malpractice cases.
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