In our last post, we began looking at how a physician’s habits surrounding the use of medical records can be used to an injured patient’s benefits in medical malpractice litigation.
For plaintiffs, it is important to understand that bad results and mistakes don’t necessarily amount to medical malpractice. When medical records show a failure to exercise reasonable care, however, this is when a valid case for medical malpractice may exist. Carefully scrutinizing medical records is critical to making this determination. When the credibility of medical records is compromised, it is easier for a plaintiff to make the case that the physician failed to exercise reasonable care in caring for a patient.
When a patient can show that a physician failed to keep proper records, kept inaccurate records or altered medical records after the fact, this makes it harder for the physician to build a strong defense and easier for the injured patient to build a strong case for negligence.
Electronic records can be an important element in medical malpractice litigation, not only because they can provide the occasion for malpractice to occur, but also because they are particularly prone to alteration. With medical records, it is very easy to clone, cut and paste information from and into the record. Once it can be shown that the medical record is unreliable, it is more difficult for a physician to construct a valid defense that he or she acted reasonably in providing medical care for a patient. This makes it easier for a plaintiff to prove malpractice occurred.
Every patient who has been harmed by a physician should work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have their case evaluated and to determine the most appropriate avenue of seeking compensation. If malpractice litigation is determined to be a viable possibility, skilled legal counsel can help build a strong case incorporating a sound strategy for obtaining fair compensation.