Our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers know that medical negligence can happen to anyone and can have serious consequences. Any time a doctor or other healthcare provider fails to provide reasonably competent care, patients can suffer and can be hurt as a result. These patients can take legal action to receive monetary compensation for losses, but this usually is small comfort after a serious injury has happened or after medical negligence has killed a beloved family member.
There are lots of reasons why medical negligence may occur, but new information indicates that the disabled may be at a greater risk of getting sub-par medical treatment. Unfortunately, the disabled and those suffering from health problems are the most in need of top-quality professional medical assistance in order to stay as healthy as possible. When a doctor or care provider fails them, the consequences can be especially devastating due to the already-impaired state of their health.
Disabled Patients May Face Discrimination & Medical Malpractice
Recently, the New York Times discussed the issues associated with doctors providing competent care to disabled patients. According to the Times article, a 60-year-old wheelchair bound patient had been visiting doctors and nurses regularly for exams regarding his diabetes.
Unfortunately, despite frequent and repeated visits to healthcare providers, a diagnosis of pressure sores on the man's backside was delayed. The reason for this delay is that clinic staff had a difficult time getting the man out of his wheelchair and on to the examination table so his backside could be examined. The clinic seemed to simply skip this step, which was a clear mistake since it stands to reason that an overweight wheelchair-bound man might be at risk for complications such as pressure sores.
Unfortunately, the decision of the clinic and other care providers not to provide thorough medical care to the disabled man was not an isolated incident of a vulnerable patient getting sub-par care. The New York Times indicates that a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine highlighted the sad fact that people with disabilities tend to receive poorer care in general as compared with other healthier patients.
Researchers from the Center for Quality of Care Research identified some of the reasons why care providers don't take care of disabled patients as well as they should. Excuses for failures on the part of care providers include a lack of handicapped accessibility; an absence of trained staff members to move patients from wheelchairs; and a lack of equipment such as height-adjustable examining tables and chairs.
In total, the study found that fewer than 10 percent of offices had appropriate equipment or properly-trained staff to provide care to the handicapped or the disabled. Unfortunately, the sub-par care isn't limited only to primary care physicians either, with some studies showing that there are significant disparities in the treatment of breast cancer in women who have disabilities.
A disability is not an excuse for a healthcare provider to fail to diagnose or properly treat a medical condition. If a disabled patient gets sub-standard care and suffers harm or a worse health condition as a result, the doctors or care providers who failed to live up to their obligations to treat the disabled patient with competence can be sued for medical negligence.
If you or a loved one was hurt by medical negligence in Ohio, call the Smith Law office today at 800-930-SCOTT to schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Ohio attorney.