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How Are Medical Records Reviewed in Malpractice Cases?

Stethoscope laying on a wood table

A study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine indicates that over 250,000 people die each year due to various medical errors. While most medical procedures are intended to improve the health of a patient, a small mistake in their medical record could lead to severe consequences. If a physician’s negligence causes wrongful death or harm to an individual, the family or patient can sue the party at fault for medical malpractice. Below is an explanation of how medical errors occur and how they get reviewed in a malpractice case.

How Do Errors in Medical Records Result in Malpractice?

All records regarding a patient’s history play a significant role in determining what kind of medical attention they receive. Physicians always reference a patient’s file when they administer treatment. If there was a mistake when the initial diagnosis was made or transcribed, this could affect the patient’s care by allowing their condition to get worse or causing them to undergo unnecessary medical procedures.

Identifying Alterations and Filing a Lawsuit

Doctors have the right to make alterations to medical charts if they input the changes in the patient’s file along with the date of the change. If a doctor fails to date an altered entry in a patient’s record accurately, they have committed unprofessional conduct. Some medical practitioners adjust the medical records of a patient once they realize they’ve made a mistake that could jeopardize their career.

Sadly, it can be hard to trace this type of misconduct because most hospitals only provide photocopies of these documents to a patient’s personal injury lawyer. When gathering evidence, an attorney should review their client’s original medical records at the hospital to identify any changes. Studying these documents makes it easier to identify the negligent individual and establish grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.

To build a strong medical malpractice claim, you’ll need the services of a resourceful and experienced lawyer. At Leav & Steinberg LLP, our attorneys have a track record of getting results for our clients. If you’ve been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional, call us at 212-766-5222 for a free consultation.

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