Lessons from One Malpractice Case about Questions to Ask before Surgery
Questions to Expose Conflicts of Interest and Lack of Teamwork
The painful lessons from Lyn Gross’s case consisted of a list of questions she and her husband had been too trusting to ask up front. These are questions any patient and family should ask to make sure you are getting the best treatment and that there are no conflicts of interest interfering with the right treatment.
- Is there another kind of treatment with another doctor that might work for me? Can we set up a meeting with both doctors to sort out the pros and cons? (If you encounter resistance, even subtly, this should raise a question in your mind: Is this doctor giving me objective advice, or is he trying to steer me to the procedure that makes money for his practice group and builds his roster of cases?)
- How well established are the different techniques that could treat me? (A complication rate that has been established over multiple years and thousands of patients is more reliable than a seemingly low complication rate for a new technique that might have collected data on only a few dozen patients.)
- If the doctor wants to use something new on me, how can I be assured it will be safer than a more tested technique?
- Has my doctor published his results in a peer-reviewed journal? How do they compare with others?
- How is the followup care organized? Where will I go after the operation, and what kinds of doctors and nurses will treat me? Are they specialists in my kind of condition?
- If something goes wrong, who will take care of me? Will it be someone who really knows about me? Will it be a specialist?
Consult with an Experienced Malpractice Attorney
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