When you go to a nice restaurant for a special occasion, you expect proper service and a well-prepared meal that you cannot, or do not, prepare for yourself at home. You have no qualms asking questions about the “specials” and how the food is prepared, and you expect the server to be honest with you regarding what he/she recommends based on your individual needs (“do you want fish or meat?” “are you allergic to any foods?”).
You reasonably rely on the server’s “inside knowledge” regarding the restaurant and its offerings available to you at that time. You expect the server to tell you your ordering options, but you would be surprised, if not shocked, if the server just brought you what he/she thought you should have for your meal.
You treat the server with respect and you let him/her know that you will rely on his/her recommendations to maximize your enjoyment of your experience at the restaurant. If the service or food does not meet your expectations, you have no problem politely discussing the shortfall with the server in order to “make it right” so that your evening is “not ruined.” After all, you are paying for your meal and your experience, and you know that you have the right to receive what you are paying for.
If the restaurant fails to meet your reasonable expectations with regard to the food, the service, or the experience, chances are that you will not return to the restaurant in the future. Your “bad” experience at the restaurant may have ruined your meal or your enjoyment of your special occasion, but chances are great that the bad experience will not cause you long-term harm that you will suffer the rest of your life – after all, it was just a bad meal.
Perhaps you should expect from your medical providers the same level of care and attention that you expect from your favorite restaurant. Your medical providers are there to serve you, without a condescending attitude and with a focus on what is best for you. You should feel comfortable asking questions about the options available to you to maximize the chances of receiving the best outcome from your care and treatment. You should have no qualms asking that your medical providers “make it right” if the medical services you receive do not meet your reasonable expectations.
You should expect to be seen by your medical provider at the time of your appointment, or shortly thereafter (if you arrived at your favorite restaurant on time for your 7:00 p.m. reservation, would you accept waiting two hours for your table?). You should expect that your medical provider will not double-book or triple-book patients for the same appointment time (would you expect a restaurant to accept reservations for the same time from many customers when only one table is available at that time?).
You should expect to be seen by your medical provider within a reasonable period of time after being seated in the examining room (would you expect to be seated at your table in a restaurant for almost an hour before your server approached you?).
You should expect your medical provider to discuss with you your proposed medical care in terms that you understand, to answer your questions so that you can understand what you are being told, and not to be rushed into making your medical decisions before you feel comfortable that you understand your options and what’s best for you (it would be unacceptable to you if your server at a restaurant came to your table, failed to tell you about the food offerings that you knew nothing about, and then told you what he/she was ordering for you without giving you any choices).
Remember: your medical providers are there to maximize the chances that you will be satisfied with your health care and treatment despite your lack of knowledge and experience regarding your medical condition. Your medical providers, like your restaurant servers, have the “inside knowledge” that you lack and you reasonably rely on their expertise for receiving what is best for you.
If you or a loved one may have been harmed as a result of medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical negligence claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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