The medical profession can be a heavy responsibility for health care providers. Many doctors, nurses and other professionals make monumental sacrifices in service to the people they are trying to help. Some even put their own health and lives at risk. 

However, as with any profession, mistakes, negligence or indifference can happen. If the mistakes lead to serious injury or loss, such as the death of your loved one, it may be medical malpractice. 

Safeguarding your loved ones 

You may be able to take actions that reduce your loved ones’ chances of suffering injury or death because of medical negligence. One way is to become proactive about their health care: 

  • Monitor medical records routinely for accuracy, and to catch anything doctors neglected to convey. 
  • Seek second opinions before your loved ones commit to nonemergency decisions that are life-altering — if possible, using providers in unaffiliated clinics or hospitals. 
  • Track their prescriptions carefully, and contact their pharmacists or doctors if anything seems amiss. 
  • Research their conditions, medications and proposed procedures yourself, rather than relying only on what the providers say. Becoming better-informed may help you and your loved ones make wiser choices for their well-being. 

Healing from a loss 

If you are reading this, you may already be reeling from losing someone you love due to medical negligence. Losing a loved one is painful enough on its own, but it can feel even worse to learn that your loved one’s death may have been preventable. Knowing your loss is a result of carelessness by the providers — or especially their willful lack of communication or proper action — can trigger unyielding anguish and outrage. 

Enduring preventable loss is often tremendously difficult. You might start thinking things like, “What if the providers had made better choices?” Just remember, there are people who may be able to help you cope. Family, friends, support groups and counselors may be able to console and assist you as you seek answers and strive for closure.