Being admitted to a hospital is not something that occurs often in most people’s lives. When it does, no matter the reason for admission, you are likely in need of immediate medical treatment and are sometimes unable to give informed consent, even if you can communicate with your nurse or doctor.
While not every person who enters a hospital is expecting to find themselves in a legal disaster, everyone needs to be aware of the common legal pitfalls that those entering the hospital as patients face. Without this awareness, people risk making costly legal mistakes that can lead to financial disaster. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss six of the most common legal pitfalls when entering a hospital.
Not Knowing Your Rights as a Patient
You must know your rights as a patient. This knowledge will help to ensure that your voice is heard when advocating for yourself from the moment you enter through the doors of the hospital until you are discharged.
This is especially important for women during their pregnancy, prenatal care as well as labor and delivery, since the negligence of the medical staff, in this case, may severely impact both the woman and her unborn child. If you believe that the care you received during your childbirth was not up to par, but were unable to speak up due to fear or naivete, then you must contact an experienced birth injury lawyer or labor malpractice attorney as soon as you can. They will protect your rights and help you get the compensation that you deserve. If needed, they will also file a medical malpractice suit against the responsible party and lead you through the legal process.
Not Disclosing All Prior Hospital Visits and Surgeries
Before each hospital visit, you need to disclose any illness or surgeries that you have had in the past. It is critical to tell your doctor about all prior illnesses and surgeries so he or she can take this information into account when determining a course of treatment for you. For instance, your treating physicians need to know if you have had sepsis before because it may affect what type of care that should be taken while treating other injuries or illnesses.
Prior medical issues can also be used by insurance companies against you when denying claims and putting up extra roadblocks like additional red tape. Additionally, before certain surgeries, your surgeon will need to know about every health issue that you have ever had to determine whether or not you are an appropriate candidate for surgery.
Not Paying Attention to the Discharge Instructions
Many people who enter the hospital are often not mentally at their sharpest because of their illness or injury. As a result, many people fail to pay attention to the discharge instructions given by both their nurse and doctor, which can lead to later problems if they do not take proper precautions after leaving the hospital. For instance, patients should never leave without making an appointment with their primary care physician for a follow-up visit.
They should also understand what medications they cannot take while recovering at home, especially narcotics that can be addicting if taken incorrectly. Failure to follow these important instructions could potentially subject you to further medical issues in the future when you least expect them since it is much harder for your healthcare provider to monitor your progress.
Not Understanding Their Insurance Plan
Before entering the hospital, you should understand your insurance plan and all of its pros and cons. For instance, many people often fabricate information about their health to get a better health insurance rate. However, once they enter the hospital and receive treatment for an illness or injury that has been exacerbated by their false information on their original application, not only do they risk getting sued for fraud due to their illness or injury, but they also risk termination from their healthcare provider (i.e., if the doctor sues them for fraud).
Additionally, even if you have adequate coverage through your current employer‘s healthcare policy but switch jobs before you leave the hospital without finding other individual healthcare coverage within 30 days of losing your company-sponsored plan, then your insurance carrier will deny any claims made against you.
Understanding these common pitfalls that can lead to legal issues in or out of the hospital is the way that you can protect yourself from making a costly mistake. However, If you believe that you have encountered any legal issues while you were a patient at the hospital, make sure you contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. They will help protect your rights and help you get the compensation that you deserve.