Say that you’re an Illinois resident who was injured while receiving medical care. You strongly suspect that the care provided was shoddy and that it was a direct catalyst in the medical harm visited upon you.
When you suffer a medical emergency and you have to go to the hospital, you expected the best care imaginable. Really, this is the standard for all medical personnel. There is no wiggle room, no acceptance for second-best. Doctors, surgeons, nurses, and hospitals have to be perfect, or they risk not only the health of one of their patients, but their reputation as well.
We have previously noted that adverse results sometimes do occur with surgeries and that such outcomes are not always tied to acts of medical negligence.
Here's a health-related statistic that might reasonably grab the attention of patients and health consumers generally in Illinois and nationally: According to a recent government report, Americans miss out on about 30 percent of care that is recommended to treat their injuries and illnesses. Alternatively, the outcome in many instances is the ordering up of diagnostic tests that are unnecessary and can lead to inappropriate and dangerous follow-up procedures.
The first crucial step in solving any problem is to correctly identify what that problem actually is. In medicine, for instance, a patient cannot be correctly treated until the doctor examines him and comes up with the correct diagnosis to explain his symptoms. An incorrect diagnosis could not only lead to an incorrect course of treatment, it could also allow the patient's condition to worsen.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to its website, this agency is tasked with improving the quality, effectiveness, safety and efficiency of the American healthcare system. As part of that mission, the AHRQ regularly releases reports on issues affecting patient safety. Many hospitals and safety experts use these reports as inspiration for improving patient outcomes and refining patient safety practices.
Recent studies indicate that when individuals are already burdened with overwhelming medical bills, they are less likely to seek necessary medical care that they require presently. It can be very difficult to bring oneself to seek out additional overpriced treatment when one is already overcome by medical debt. This is just one way that overpriced medical care can directly harm patients.
When a patient brings health-related concerns to his or her physician, there is a unique trust present in that interaction. The patient trusts that the physician will exercise his or her expertise in such a way that any questions will either be properly answered or referred to a specialist who can answer them. When physicians fail to exercise their expertise in accordance with professional standards of care and patients suffer from those physicians' failure to diagnose their conditions, trust between patients and their doctors can shatter.
The media has recently reported on numerous cases of both accidental and intentional prescription overdose in which the victims' families blame the prescribing physician. Some of these cases have merit. After all, actionable medical malpractice cases arise when physicians and other healthcare providers fail to treat patients in accordance with certain standards of care. If a physician prescribes medications negligently, recklessly or in accidental error, he or she may generally be held liable for harm done to the patient taking the prescribed medication.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes the shock of tragedy to inspire reform. This is as true in medicine as it is in politics. In one recent case, the misdiagnosis and death of young boy named Rory has inspired new safety measures designed to prevent Rory's story from happening to any more patients.