Helping Your Family Through Medical Malpractice

There were around 12,414 cases of medical malpractice reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank between 2009 and 2018, and medical malpractice is officially the third leading cause of death in the U.S. (as reported by John Hopkins University). The top causes of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, childbirth, anesthesia, medication or surgical errors, and infection. If your family has been through such an experience, it can be traumatic for some or all family members. What steps can you take to support and care for each other?

Know Your Legal Rights

The last thing on your mind may be finances when a case of medical malpractice hits your family, but it is important to know your legal rights so that your family can afford the very best care and therapy (if necessary) available. As stated by JJS Justice, many conditions caused by medical malpractice (for instance, some cases of cerebral palsy) have a host of new, promising treatments that nevertheless may be pricey. Securing your financial situation and obtaining any compensation you may be entitled to will help your family adjust to necessary changes and schedules without having to worry about paying bills.

Receive Therapy If Required

If you or any other family members are finding it difficult to adjust to the changing circumstances imposed by medical malpractice, therapy may be useful. For conditions like depression and anxiety (which can arise after a traumatic experience), ‘gold standard’ treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which highlights the key connection between how we think, feel and behave. Therapists will often work alongside family members, suggesting, for instance, a change to one or more small behaviors. Clients are then asked to jot down the way that the changed behavior affected how they viewed their current situation. An excellent complement to therapy are natural stress-reducing methods such as yoga and mindfulness meditation, found in study after study to reduce stress.

Seeking Social Support

Social support is vital at all times in order to maintain physical and psychological health. As stated in a study by F Ozbay and colleagues (published in the journal Psychiatry), however, it is particularly important in times of trauma because “Social support may moderate genetic and environmental vulnerabilities and confer resilience to stress.” The researchers noted that social support has positive effects on the central stress system and on brain systems related to alertness, readiness for action, and other functions. Social support can be sought not only from family and friends, but also from groups specialized in any conditions that medical malpractice may have caused. For instance, for conditions like cerebral palsy, dedicated organizations exist that provide group talks, resources, information on legal and financial resources, and more.

If your family has been through medical malpractice, it is important to protect your legal rights and preserve your physical and mental health. Receiving due compensation will enable you to widen the scope of potential treatments and enable you to feel less stressed about how to meet financial obligations. Therapy and social support, meanwhile, will help you weather the mental and psychological effects that trauma can bring.

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