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How to Survive Medical Negligence at the Hospital After Surviving a Motorcycle Accident

In 2014, there were 8.4 million motorcycles on American roads, according to data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 2015, 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in collisions, which was an increase of over 8 percent in fatalities from the previous year. Motorcycle accident injuries statistically went down 4.3 percent in 2015, from 92,000 injuries in 2014 to 88,000 documented bike injuries.

While nothing can replace the freedom, culture, and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle, owners and drivers are 27 times more likely to die in a collision, compared to passengers and drivers riding in cars or trucks. But for some drivers who are admitted for injuries and medical care, there is another risk associated: Medical negligence, which can lead to complications, further injuries, and even death.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle collision, and experienced what you suspect to be the result of malpractice at an emergency care center, or if you have a family member who was the victim of motorcycle accident death due to medical negligence, there are some important facts that can help you pursue action and get the care and expense reimbursement you are legally entitled to.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

It seems that the only time we hear about medical malpractice is when an individual or a group (in a class action suit) has won a large settlement from a healthcare organization, medical device manufacturer, or pharmaceutical company. While those large legal cases make the headlines periodically, medical malpractice for the average patient happens more frequently than most Americans realize.

Did you know that there are 65,000 to more than 200,000 cases of medical malpractice on average in the United States every year? The first and most famous report of the frequency of medical malpractice suits was published by the Institute of Medicine in 1999, titled “To Err is Human.”

In the landmark report, which was the first time the medical community had cumulatively and transparently looked at the number of negligence cases at hospitals and healthcare facilities, the Institute of Medicine stated that almost 100,000 Americans on average suffered fatalities as a direct result of malpractice – errors which could have been easily avoided, if proper procedures had been followed. These sent both shockwaves through the U.S. healthcare system, as well as to patients who began to consider that in many cases, blind trust or faith in healthcare practitioners was not only undeserved but potentially lethal, according to one medical malpractice attorney.

The public has an expectation of being cared for by the best of the abilities of the medical team treating them, and with advanced technology now available, Americans have an expectation of being healed and having the injury resolved while at a hospital. Few people anticipate that the visit to the hospital could not only fail to address their injuries, but complicate or worsen them – not because of the severity of the injury, but due to human error.

Medical malpractice or negligence due to lack of quality care can include the following experiences in the hospital:

  • Failure to diagnose the symptoms through tests, including blood labs and radiography (x-rays), and conduct a thorough patient history before commencing treatment (except for life-threatening incidents).
  • Delayed treatment which resulted in a worsening of the health condition. For instance, if a patient in admitted with bleeding, and he or she is forced to wait for treatment and suffers a secondary and possibly life-threatening health crisis due to the delay, physicians can be charged with negligence for failure to identify and treat the injury within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Drug and prescription medication reactions. Failure to identify pre-existing health conditions, allergies, and other patient information that leads to improper treatment of the injury.
  • Malfunctioning medical equipment.
  • Patient misdiagnoses or inaccurate record keeping (charts) that lead to incorrect treatment.

There are many other aspects that can lead to a situation where medical malpractice can threaten the life of an injured patient, including physician fatigue, delayed emergency transportation, incorrect dispensing of medications and doses, and more.

The outcome is always shocking for patients because of the blind faith we place in healthcare professionals, but patients (or their guardians and families) should never assume that practitioners are infallible; if a condition worsens, family members should be asking questions and gathering evidence in case avoidable negligence is involved.

Advice for Motorcycle Drivers

Although we are trained to place a great deal of trust in medical professionals, they are human, and they can (and frequently do) make errors in the delivery of healthcare and emergency services to patients. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is important to have family or friends present with you at the hospital to advocate for your care, but also to be observant of the medical treatment received and any possible lapse in best care practice from the healthcare team.

If medical malpractice is suspected as a cause of a worsening injury or fatality, families should consult with a legal expert, and retain a copy of the record of treatment. Successful medical malpractice suits may compensate for medical treatment and legal expenses, and provide a settlement for loss or wrongful death.

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