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How to Ask Questions After an Unexpected Medical Outcome

Older Woman Patient Talking to Male Doctor with ClipBoard

If you've ever had a medical procedure, or even taken a new medicine, you're probably familiar with the laundry list of risks associated with various treatments. You may have even signed an informed consent form, indicating that you understood and accepted those risks and were willing to proceed with the treatment.

In reality, most of us think of those risks as things that happen to other people. Sooner or later, though, an unexpected outcome might just happen to you or to someone you love. If it does, you'll need to begin evaluating whether it was the result of an unlikely, but acceptable risk of treatment, or medical malpractice.

Asking Your Doctor Questions After a Bad Outcome

Understandably, your doctor may be less than forthcoming about what happened to cause your poor outcome. However, he or she should be able to answer certain specific questions about the procedure and the outcome, including:

  • Was this injury preventable?
  • Has this ever happened to one of your patients before?
  • How often does this outcome happen after this type of procedure?
  • What happens next in terms of treatment?
  • What can I expect in my recovery?
  • In retrospect, were there any reasons to anticipate that this might happen?

You can ask your doctor to walk you through the events that led to your negative outcome. Just as you may have done before your procedure, you should have someone else with you who can take notes and may hear things that you miss.

You should also ask yourself some questions before you speak with your doctor. First and foremost, what are you looking to get out of the conversation? You may want reassurance that the outcome could not have been avoided, or to understand what health and function you can expect to regain. You may simply want to hear the doctor apologize for what happened to you. Knowing what you want out of a meeting with your doctor will help inform your questions to him or her.

You should probably not expect to find a "smoking gun" to indicate that medical malpractice took place. Evidence of malpractice is rarely open and obvious. But what should you do if, after you speak with your doctor, you suspect malpractice?

What to Do if You Suspect Your Doctor Committed Malpractice

If you suspect that your poor medical outcome was the result of medical malpractice on the part of your doctor or hospital, you should enlist the help of an experienced Oregon medical malpractice attorney without delay. You have only a limited time in which to file a malpractice lawsuit.

Malpractice lawsuits are often long and costly, so it's essential to consult an attorney who handles many malpractice cases, not just a few in the course of a general personal injury practice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be better able to evaluate whether your case has a reasonable chance of success. He or she will also know how to secure the evidence that will support your case, and have access to medical experts who can bolster your position.

We invite you to contact Huegli Fraser PC for a free, confidential initial consultation. We look forward to answering your questions about how to proceed in light of a poor medical outcome, and anything else to do with your medical malpractice matter.

Categories: Medical Malpractice

Blog Disclaimer

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact a qualified medical malpractice attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent medical malpractice attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Portland, Oregon, medical malpractice and personal injury attorney James Hu… Read More

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Rhett Fraser devotes his legal practice exclusively to helping people injur… Read More

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Jason Cohen is a litigation attorney who practices plaintiff’s personal i… Read More

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