This post has been shared by the AdvoConnection Blog. It was written with a patient-client audience in mind, but might be useful to you, too.
It is provided so you can find it in a search here at myAPHA.org, but you’ll need to link to the original post to read it in its entirety.
Getting Revenge in the Face of Malpractice
Sometimes when patients or caregivers do a search in the AdvoConnection Directory for an advocate to help them, they are unable to find someone. There are a number of reasons for that, such as believing an advocate needs to be local (she may not) or not finding someone who the searcher thinks has the skill set to help… When searchers can’t find someone, they are invited to post a request for their “unmet needs”. We, the hosts of AdvoConnection, then post those requests so our member-advocates can review them, to see if they can offer help. When an advocate identifies that searcher as someone who can be helped, they will reach out to see whether there is a good fit of patient-to-advocate. Over the years, hundreds of patients have been helped in this fashion. Unfortunately, there is ONE category of help that is requested too frequently – help that simply cannot be provided by health or patient advocates. It’s sad, and difficult, and rarely understood by the possibly desperate patient or loved one who is searching for help. What can’t be provided is this: LEGAL help needed as a result of medical malpractice. It’s NOT that every one of our advocate / care manager members wouldn’t want to help. They always want to help! It’s because patient advocates and care managers aren’t lawyers. Patient advocates offer help with your journey through the healthcare system – not the legal system. And medical malpractice, especially if it’s expected to result in a lawsuit, is a legal need, not a healthcare need. I write this post today as someone who suffered malpractice at the hands of the medical system myself. And while I understand the great frustration, anger, sadness, and exhaustion that results, I actually think there is a different approach that might improve the life of the poorly treated patient immensely. That is not to say that legal channels shouldn’t be pursued. In many cases they should, although not through AdvoConnection. However – and this is important – legal cases, especially medical malpractice, usually take years to adjudicate. They are not a quick fix, certainly. And sadly, they do absolutely nothing to improve the health or quality of life of the person who was harmed. If anything, they contribute to the sense of loss, anger, and frustration – emotions that can harm a patient’s health even further. And, too, they create a…