Few things are as frustrating as placing your trust in someone dedicated to helping you only to get worse. One of the reasons that doctors and medical professionals work with such strict codes and protocols is to, if nothing else, limit harm. They know they can’t always make it better, but they can at least try not to make it worse.

The tightrope this creates for the legal system is another matter entirely. When you get worse after seeking treatment, you are prone to wonder if a mistake has been made. This raises the question; did you get worse naturally or is it medical malpractice? 

The promise of help, and sometimes lack of it, drives the bunk science and alternative medicine industries. They offer false hope instead of the sometimes unpalatable truth that sometimes there is not getting better.

Determining if you’ve been mistreated or things are progressing is why malpractice laws exist.

Natural Course

Diseases tend to progress before they get better. Even with treatment it is rare for someone to recover completely without the disease going through its full course. Most treatments are designed to bolster the natural healing resources of the body and to mitigate or lesson symptoms.

In the case of some diseases such as Alzheimer’s, the treatments can temporarily increase incidents of confusion and decline. These are known effects which a doctor can explain. 

In determining if a patient getting worse on a treatment is part of a natural progression, a known complication, or a co-condition multiple steps need to be taken.

In general, the determination of malpractice needs to come from the medical provider causing an avoidable error. Your body not handling things well is only a factor if it could have been known. 

Do No Harm

It’s easy to lash out when in pain or when you feel slighted. Getting worse after a medical treatment leaves you doubly vulnerable. Doctors attempt to avoid causing more problems while solving the initial one. 

The problem, especially as related to surgery, is that causing harm to heal is a common tactic. In the case of surgery, it is understood that you will suffer some effects from the surgery, even minor surgery comes with a stack of risks.

Again, the marker for malpractice becomes a combination of questions about negligence or recklessness. 

Unexpected Consequences

Various conferences and publications coming out of the medical profession are careful to discuss the differences between errors and misses (both diagnosis and information).

Unknowns are a constant worry for doctors. They can’t know some pieces of information that if they did know, would change their course of action. For example, if you don’t know about an allergy to a medication and the doctor prescribe it, that would be an unexpected consequence.

You relied on the doctor to protect you from such a consequence, but at the same time, the doctor relied on the information you provided to offer the treatment.

Find Answers

It’s difficult to navigate the parameters of what does and doesn’t count as medical malpractice. Part of this complication comes from the legal processes and some comes from your inherent desire not to blame others for your issues. 

The system works best when your rights are represented, and the medical establishment is held accountable. To learn more about the law and where your own injuries stand,  contact us to learn more about your options. We’re here to help.