Every year across the United States, medical errors lead to thousands of deaths, most of which are preventable. Medical errors can be the result of wrong diagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, or undetected infections.
Medical errors are the third leading cause of deaths behind heart disease and cancer. However, many of these medical errors can be prevented. Patients need to advocate for themselves, but if they feel they cannot make important medical decisions then they should ask a family member or friend who they trust to join them at doctor’s appointments.
When it comes to preventing medical errors here are some tips patients can use.
- Tell all doctors about every medicine you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements (vitamins and herbs).
- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions to medicines.
- Make sure you can read any prescription your doctor writes.
- Ask for information regarding your medicines in terms that you can understand.
- At the pharmacy, when you pick up your medicine, ask if it is the medicine you were prescribed by your doctor.
- Ask any questions you may have about the directions for taking your medication.
- Ask for written information about any possible side effects of the medication.
- During hospital stays, ask health care workers who will be touching you whether their hands have been washed.
- At the time of discharge, ask your doctor about the treatment plan you are to follow at home.
- Prior to a surgery, make sure that your doctor and surgeon agree on what will be done.
- If you have the option, make sure to choose a hospital where there have been many patients who have had the same surgery or procedure.
- Make sure there is one person who coordinates your care, such as your primary care doctor.
- Provide your doctor with important health information.
- Find out whether a certain test or treatment is necessary. You might not need it.
- Do not assume that because the doctor has not contacted you regarding the results of a test that everything is fine. Follow up with the doctor to get the results.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.