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Ways to Protect Yourself from Medical Error

It stands to reason that anyone visiting a doctor’s office or hospital expects to be treated with a certain standard of care. People assume that doctors and nurses know how to perform their jobs competently, and that they will receive accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Unfortunately, people are harmed by medical professionals with what could be considered regularity. Many people know someone who has been injured by a medical professional of, if they don’t know a victim personally, they have read about multi-million dollar settlements. The good news is that there are ways to reduce your chances of becoming a victim.

In the Office or Hospital

When you walk into a hospital, you are an advocate for your own health. Be an advocate. Research has shown that patients who take an active role in their own care are less likely to become the victims of medical malpractice. On that note, here is what you can do:

1. Ask Questions: There is no stupid question. We’ve all heard that phrase, yet few of us believe it in all situations. When it comes to your medical care, it is absolutely true. If you aren’t sure what is happening, ask. If you have any questions or want more information, ask.

2. Know Your Doctors: In some cases, you have a medical condition that requires the care of several different providers. Get to know each and make sure that your primary care physician remains in the loop if not totally involved in your case. When you are able to develop a relationship with our care providers, you tend to receive better treatment.

3. Speak Up: It isn’t unusual for people to downplay symptoms. Don’t make this mistake. In many cases, your medical care team can only work with the information you provide. If you downplay a headache, shortness of breath or any other symptom, you could be doing yourself a disservice by not giving medical professionals the information they need to diagnose you accurately.

4. Learn: Once you are diagnosed with a medical condition, research it and learn what you can. Don’t rely on a medical professional without understanding what is happening with your body. When you learn more about your condition, you better understand what your options are and can discuss them with your doctor.

Medication

Medication errors are more common than people may think. Here are a few tips to keep yourself safe in and out of the office or hospital.

1. Full Disclosure: Tell your medical professional about any medications or supplements you are currently taking. If you remember, throw everything in a bag and take it to your appointment with you. This will prevent you from forgetting to name a medication and will give your doctor an opportunity to review them with you.

2. Allergies: If you have any allergies to medication, make sure your care provider knows about them. If you have any allergies to shellfish, dairy or nuts, make sure your doctor knows about those as well. A doctor can’t prescribe a safe medication if they aren’t working with all of the available information.

3. Ask Questions: Your doctor has the experience and knowledge to choose a medication or medications for you. That doesn’t mean you should rely solely on that knowledge. Find out exactly what the medication is for, how you can expect it to act, and what type of side effects have been reported.

4. Correct Dosage: Before you take your first dose, speak to your doctor and pharmacist to confirm the correct dosage and its administration. One of the most common errors is in dosing. By asking questions, you may alert a medical professional to a mistake.

5. Don’t Shop Around: While it pays in most cases to shop around, that isn’t true of medications. Use the same pharmacy for all of your prescriptions unless your insurance plan prevents you from doing so. Keeping your prescriptions in one pharmacy helps reduce the chance of error due to drug interactions.

6. Follow the Label: If one pill works well, two are better, right? No. Follow the label on the medication and take it as instructed. Too little and you may not have the desired effects. Too much and you could experience side effects. Your doctor prescribed the medication in a specific way for a reason – stick to what your doctor said.

Errors in the medical world can have devastating effects. When you take a more active role in your health care, you can help to minimize the possibility of these errors occurring.

If you do happen to be harmed or injured due to medical negligence or error, you have rights. Call our experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys today to discover more about your legal rights. We will review your case at no cost and advise you of your options. You may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Reach out today.