When you head to the hospital, you expect the care you receive to address and fix your ailment—or at least put you on the path to recovery. But what happens when a doctor is negligent and makes a mistake? If you’ve been injured while being treated in a hospital or other medical facility, you need help from a Wheaton, IL medical malpractice lawyer.
Thomas Law Offices is dedicated to helping personal injury victims restore order in their lives after being wrongfully harmed. If you were injured in a facility in or around Wheaton, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine how best to proceed to protect your future.
Hospitals and Medical Facilities in Wheaton
As small as Wheaton is, being not even 12 square miles, there are no hospitals located directly within city limits. If you need care, whether that means a run-of-the-mill check-up or emergency medical attention, you need to know where to go. According to Medicare, the five closest facilities to Wheaton include:
- Central DuPage Hospital
- Adventist Glenoaks
- Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
- Edward Hospital
- Linden Oaks Hospital
Those facilities are all within a 10-mile radius of Wheaton. If you’re needing to decide where to go and the location is a primary concern, you’ll want to consider the hospital ratings, as provided by Medicare’s Hospital Compare tool.
Of those five hospitals, Edward Hospital, which is located in Naperville, has the highest overall rating—which equates to five stars and “much above average.” Medicare’s ratings are based on how well a facility performs across different areas of quality, like treating heart attacks and pneumonia, readmission rates, and safety of care. The facility with the lowest rating is Adventist Glenoaks, with an overall rating of “below average,” and two stars. While the facility rates the same as the national average in most categories, the overall patient experience is considered below average.
Defining Medical Malpractice
While the concept of medical malpractice is the same everywhere, states have different definitions when it comes to the malpractice provoking litigation. In Illinois, medical malpractice happens when a doctor or other healthcare professional or institution breached the standard of care when treating a patient, resulting in injury or death.
Standard of care refers to the generally accepted set of standards and practices that other medical professionals would take when treating a similar patient. Variables that help assess the standard of care include the patient’s age and the specifics of their condition. When the standard of care is violated, it is considered medical negligence.
To prove negligence in medicine, you have to be able to show you had a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant, they acted in the wrong, you were injured, and you’ve suffered losses as a result of your injuries.
What to Do As a Victim of Doctor Negligence
Medical malpractice happens more often than most people realize. If you believe you’ve become the victim of a negligent physician or other health care provider, there are five important steps you should take:
- Find Another Doctor. As a victim of a doctor’s mistake, it’s important to make health your first priority. Finding a new doctor can potentially undo the damage caused by the first physician.
- Request Medical Records. Once you have a new doctor, you need to request your medical records. They will play an important role in your med mal case, as they will contain information about the symptoms you were experiencing, your medical history, performed tests, and prescribed medications. You want to request these records prior to filing a claim so there’s no chance of tampering.
- Keep Track of Your Injury and Losses. Start keeping a journal where you write down notes on your health. Describe what symptoms you’re experiencing and how they are impacting your life. Take time to write in the journal each day. Even if there’s not much to update, your lawyer will be able to use the journal as evidence of your pain and losses.
- Contact a Lawyer. Medical malpractice is one of the more complex areas of personal injury law. Because of that, it’s strongly recommended that you get in touch with a law firm as soon as possible. Once you’ve been through your consultation and have signed the necessary paperwork, your lawyer can begin building a claim on your behalf that proves the doctor was negligent.
- Refrain From Speaking to Outside Parties. Once you have an attorney, they are your main point of contact for your claim. If other health care providers or individuals at the healthcare facility contact you with questions, refer them to your lawyer. Do not call the hospital to warn or threaten them about your medical malpractice claim. Also avoid posting anything on social media. Refrain from speaking to the defendant’s lawyer or insurance adjuster. Your lawyer will handle those conversations, so nothing is said to jeopardize your case.
Seek Legal Representation From Thomas Law Offices
No matter what type of malpractice you’ve suffered from—whether it happened in the doctor’s office, operating room, or somewhere else in a hospital, you deserve the best chance at recovery. When you work with Thomas Law Offices, a Wheaton medical malpractice lawyer will provide you with the best legal representation possible, so you have a strong case.
Medical malpractice claims take time—often months or even years, so the sooner you get an attorney working on your case, the better your chances are of success. To learn more about your legal rights and options or to schedule a case evaluation, contact us today.