Is Inadequate Aftercare Considered Medical Malpractice?

Is Inadequate Aftercare Considered Medical Malpractice?Aftercare is the type of medical care that is usually provided to a patient after they undergo a medical surgery, procedure, or treatment. For example, after surgery, the patient is typically monitored in the recovery room for a few hours to ensure that the surgery was successful and that no complications are present.

Most of the time, the doctors and nurses want to make sure that you can eat, drink, move, and perform basic bodily functions after a surgery or procedure. However, if you were sent home without ensuring this and you experience serious complications, the quality of your aftercare may be in question. In some cases, it may constitute medical malpractice.

Aftercare is essential because it:

  • Reduces your chances of risks and complications
  • Determines whether the surgery, treatment, or procedure was successful or unsuccessful
  • Ensures that you are on the road to recovery

It is the duty of the hospital, doctor’s office, and/or medical staff to make sure that the patient is given adequate aftercare. This means that they are assessed and determined to be recovering, and they know how to properly take care of themselves, what they can and cannot eat, how to apply and change their bandages, and more. The goal of aftercare is to ensure that the patient heals successfully and achieves the best results from their medical treatment, procedure, or surgery.

What is an example of inadequate aftercare?

There are many examples of inadequate aftercare that may occur in a hospital or doctor’s office setting. Here are four of the most common examples that you should know about:

  1. Providing the wrong prescription or incorrect dosage of medicine after a procedure
  2. Failing to answer any questions or address any concerns that the patient has after the surgery
  3. Failing to take action to reduce the patient’s pain or discomfort after a medical treatment
  4. Discharging the patient too quickly without thoroughly assessing their condition and checking on them after the procedure
  5. A breakdown in communication between the doctor or nursing staff with the patient
  6. Failure of the doctor’s office to contact a patient after a missed appointment
  7. Incomplete or errors in medical records that lead to mistakes in aftercare
  8. Failing to follow-up with a patient regarding test results, scans, or lab work
  9. Failing to follow-up with a patient after prescribing new medication or changing their medication dosage
  10. Failing to follow-up with a patient after sending them to the hospital after an office visit
  11. Not properly communicating how urgent it is for the patient to undergo labs, testing, or treatment
  12. Failing to recommend that the patient receive in-home nursing care or routine check-ups following major surgery

Inadequate aftercare can be medical malpractice when negligence is present

Inadequate aftercare is not always caused by the doctor or medical staff. The patient holds a degree of responsibility in their own aftercare by attending follow-up appointments, going to physical therapy, taking medications as prescribed and following doctor’s orders. However, if the doctor or medical staff fails to connect with a patient if they miss an appointment, fails to express the importance of labs/tests/scans, or makes a mistake in diagnosing the patient then inadequate aftercare can be considered medical malpractice due to their negligence.

Negligence is typically present in these types of cases when any of the following occurs:

  • The doctor or medical staff fails to prevent a complication such as an infection or an allergic reaction to medication
  • The patient is not monitored properly either in the hospital or upon their return home (especially if they require at-home nursing care)
  • The doctor fails to diagnose a new problem that arises for the patient following surgery or major medical treatment

Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are supposed to be trusted to do their jobs and improve your health. When they fail to do this and actually cause your condition or symptoms to become worse, we can help. The Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, PA know and understand the difficulties and complications that come with medical malpractice cases. To schedule a free consultation, call our office or complete our contact form today. We have offices located in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville, and Oxford for your convenience.