When you head to the hospital, you expect to receive the treatment you need to improve whatever is ailing you—whether that be a common cold or heart attack. In the event you end up leaving the hospital in a worse condition and you believe a doctor or other medical professional caused, you may have grounds for legal action. That’s where an Oak Park medical malpractice lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help.
Medical malpractice refers to situations where a doctor, nurse, or another employee of a hospital acts negligently and causes injury to a patient. This can happen in the operating room, while giving medication, during a routine screening, etc. Patients who are injured because of a physician’s negligence may experience new or worsening conditions, unexpected hospital bills, the inability to work, and more.
If you believe you’ve been injured by a doctor, our law firm can evaluate your situation and determine how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances. To start, we’ll likely request your medical records, which will include the hospital or medical facility you sought treatment from.
Hospitals in Oak Park, Illinois
Whether you’re heading to a scheduled medical appointment or you need emergency medical attention, if you’re heading to a hospital with Oak Park city limits, you have two options: West Suburban Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital—both of which are acute care centers.
According to Medicare, Rush Oak Park Hospital has an overall rating of much above average. Medicare’s ratings are based on how well a hospital performs across different areas of quality, like treating heart attacks and pneumonia, readmission rates, and safety of care. West Suburban Medical Center has an overall rating of average. Factors that are described as below the national average include readmission, patient experience, and timeliness of care.
Just because a hospital has a less than perfect rating does not mean that you will experience harm or injury while in a doctor’s care. It does, however, mean you may have to advocate for yourself more than you would in another facility to ensure your rights as a resident are upheld.
Understanding Your Rights as a Patient
As a patient, your rights are defined under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). Those rights stem from the ethical practice of medicine and basic human rights. Your legal rights as a patient in the American healthcare system include the following:
- The Right to Be Treated With Respect. All patients, regardless of their condition or means, should be treated with respect and without discrimination.
- The Right to Obtain Your Medical Records. You have the right to obtain your medical records. This includes doctors’ notes, medical test results, and other documentation related to your care.
- The Right to Privacy of Your Medical Records. HIPPA lays out who may obtain your records, besides you, and for what purposes. If your records are improperly accessed, there may be consequences.
- The Right to Make a Treatment Choice. So long as you are considered to be of sound mind, you have the right and responsibility to know about the options available for your treatment and make the choice you feel is best.
- The Right to Informed Consent. Practitioners and facilities are required to inform patients about tests, procedures, and treatments. If a clear explanation of the risks and benefits is not explained to the patient, negligence might be involved.
- The Right to Refuse Treatment. In most instances, you have the right to refuse treatment. Exceptions may occur if others are subsiding your income during the period of injury, sickness, and inability to work.
- The Right to Make Decisions About End-of-Life Care. Every state governs how patients may make and legally record the decisions they make about how their lives will end. This includes life-preserving measures, like the use of feeding tubes or ventilators. In Illinois, you have the ability to make four types of advance directives: a health care power of attorney, a living will, a mental health treatment preference declaration, and a Do-Not-Resuscitate/Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment.
In the event you believe any of those rights have been violated, you can look into filing a med mal lawsuit.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
To file a successful medical malpractice claim, there are certain elements you need to prove. First, you need to show that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Your medical records can show that. Then, you need to prove that the doctor was negligent. To do this, your lawyer will likely call on a medical expert witness to detail how your physician breached the standard of care.
Once negligence is established, you can focus on proving how the doctor’s negligence caused your injury and what damages you’ve experienced—including economic and noneconomic losses. Medical malpractice law is regulated by a highly complex body of rules, which is why you’ll want to seek legal representation from an injury attorney.
Recover With Thomas Law Offices
Sustaining additional or unexpected injuries when being treated by a physician can have a serious impact on your life. At Thomas Law Offices, you can seek help from an Oak Park medical malpractice lawyer who can ensure you understand your rights and legal options and what you need to do to recover as fully as possible.
While medical malpractice cases are complex, our attorneys have extensive experience representing victims of negligence and we’re prepared to take your claim on next. To learn more about taking legal action or to get started on your injury claim, schedule a case evaluation with our law firm today.