Several factors—lacking health insurance and high medical costs among them—have resulted in patients oftentimes seeking care at outpatient facilities. These include the ubiquitous “doc-in-a-box” urgent care centers that have popped up all over. These facilities usually offer pay-on-demand service that is designed to be fast and convenient. The problem is that not all medical care is fast and it’s sometimes not convenient to give patients the care they really need. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, claims against outpatient care centers went up between 2005 and 2009.
The urgent care facilities oftentimes have a very volume-oriented approach to providing care. Patients come in and are given the fastest diagnoses possible and sent on their way. For simple things, this can be very effective. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean that the patient receives good care and that they receive a thorough examination.
Failure to diagnose is a form of outpatient medical malpractice. Whether you walk into a doctor’s office with $20 to cover the cost of an urgent care visit or a medical policy that will pay out millions for whatever treatment you want, the doctor owes you competent care. In fact, as soon as they take you on as a patient, they owe you the same level of care that they owe anyone else.
When You’re Not Treated Right
If you’ve been given substandard treatment by an urgent care provider, you have the same right to investigate whether or not a lawsuit is an option for you as you would if you were at the most expensive hospital in the city. There are no such things as gradations where the level of care required of a physician is concerned and no patients are expected to compromise.
You will have to speak with an attorney to tell them what happened to you and to see what your options might be. You may have a good case on your hands, but an attorney will have to determine as much. Some things to consider are:
- Were you given the incorrect treatment?
- Did the doctor fail to diagnose a serious ailment?
- Were you given a substandard level of treatment?
- Did you suffer or get sicker as a result of any of these things?
A doctor has every right to be rude or in a rush—and many of them are both—but they don’t have a right to compromise on their delivery of care just because they operate a business based on treating as many patients as possible.