The Patient’s Role in Investigating a Medical Malpractice Case
Author: Alex Wolfe, Associate Lawyer
Unless you are extremely healthy (or lucky), most of us have regular interactions with doctors, hospitals, nurses, and other medical professionals. Most of us have very positive experiences and feel better after these interactions, however, some people do not receive the proper diagnosis, treatment, surgery, or referral and may suffer as a result.
Don’t worry or live in fear. Medical malpractice is very uncommon, but it exists. Because of this reality, if you believe that you received sub-standard treatment from a medical professional, and are feeling worse as a result of this treatment, here are some preliminary steps that you can take to ensure that the proper evidence is available to you down the road:
- Talk to your family doctor about the care you received, or seek a second opinion. Documenting and seeking assistance for your potential misfortune is an important step in identifying and remedying any complications, problems, or issues.
- Write out what happened and continue to document successive interactions and events. Keeping a personal written record of all the things that happened to you helps ensure that you have an accurate recollection of the events at-hand. It will also help you communicate with other medical professionals about your condition.
- Request your medical records. Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) provides individuals with a statutory right to access their medical records and other personal health information. The records should be provided without any questions asked.
- If possible, take pictures of your injuries. Pictures say a thousand words and can be influential pieces of evidence in the event that a lawsuit is commenced.
- Finally, call a lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice litigation. Most lawyers are willing to speak with you free of charge and will provide you with some options to address the potential wrong that occurred.