The human body is a complicated network of interconnected systems, and when it functions improperly, there are any number of causes and treatment options. This is part of what makes it so difficult to diagnose and counteract harmful health conditions.
Sometimes, however, medical professionals opt for simple answers, failing to investigate what appears to be a straightforward problem. When this happens, patients may miss out on treatment plans that directly address their health problems, which may mean the health professionals in question are guilty of medical malpractice.
An Obvious Mistake in Diagnosis
Few stories about failing to follow up with an initial diagnosis are as dramatic as Kayla Rahn’s. In the spring of 2018, Rahn struggled to control her body weight; she was gaining pounds by the week and starting to suffer from abdominal pain and shortness of breath.
Physicians continued to monitor her symptoms for months, either ignoring her concerns or failing to notice them at first glance. Finally, her mother took her to an emergency room, where doctors discovered a 50-pound mass in one of her ovaries. They scheduled a surgery and removed the cyst the next day.
In the weeks following the procedure, Rahn dropped 75 pounds and made a full recovery. Her and her surgeon’s message to others is to raise questions when medical professionals aren’t offering satisfying solutions.
Make Your Voice Heard In Medical Discussions
Whether it’s because you’ve always been afraid of going in for a check-up or because you’ve always had trouble addressing authority figures, it can be hard to speak up and disagree with doctors during consultations. However, as Kayla Rahn demonstrated, this courage is necessary to help doctors make accurate diagnoses and prescribe helpful treatments.
When Patients May Need to Speak Up
There are several situations in which someone sitting in an examination room may want to raise a question, and research done by the medical community supports the patient’s right to steer the conversation: patients who work together with the doctor on developing a treatment plan that’s right for them tend to fare better in their recovery than those who don’t.
Watch out for these warning signs when discussing symptoms, diagnosis, or options for treatment plans, especially if you or someone you provide care for may not be fully aware of what’s being discussed:
- The physician dismisses your thoughts without discussing them.
- The physician prescribes a treatment plan you’re uncomfortable with or don’t understand.
- You aren’t given a clear description of the extent of your condition and/or prognosis.
- You or your loved one are pressured into signing legally binding documents without proper explanation.
If you find yourself in any of these situations or in others like them, it may be time to pose a dissenting opinion.
How to Speak Up Against Medical Professionals
We know many people are uncomfortable expressing an uneducated opinion, or harming the relationship they enjoy with their doctor, or even endangering themselves by coming off as defensive. There are ways to place yourself in medical discussions without becoming a bull in a china shop, however, so feel free to use the following tips as they apply to your situation:
- If something’s unclear to you, simply ask the doctor to repeat what he or she said.
- If you think the doctor has misunderstood your symptoms and attempts to prescribe a treatment prematurely, clarify by adding, “And that will also address my issue with ____?”
- If you don’t understand the risks or side effects of a certain treatment or procedure, say you need more information about the benefits and possible risks before making a decision.
The bottom line is that the doctor typically needs your permission to start a plan of action; you can always ask for more information, delay starting treatment, or even find another doctor if you’re uncomfortable with your care.
Speaking Up Against Medical Malpractice
By raising your voice early and consistently, you can help medical professionals uphold the standards of care that prevent medical malpractice from occurring. However, this may not always work, and if Kayla Rahn has taught us anything, it’s that the most obvious problems can often go unidentified despite all effort.
If you’ve been affected by medical malpractice, you may deserve financial compensation for your case. Hensley Legal Group’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys are always ready to help Indiana residents get results from their medical malpractice claims. We’ll take care of the leg work in this highly complicated process and fight to make medical providers pay for their negligence. Contact us today or call us for a no-cost conversation about your case.