In a previous blog, we shared the news that medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. – absolutely stunning news. In this entry, we’ll share a few steps that you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Be sure to share these with family and friends, as we’re all about education!
Who’s at Risk of Experiencing Medical Errors?
According to Johns Hopkins researchers who blew the lid off the story about the prevalence of medical errors, older patients are at most risk from medical errors.
In fact, as many as 1 in 7 Medicare patients experience medical errors in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, etc.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Odds of Medical Errors
The term “medical errors” is all encompassing, and includes experiences dealing with medication, diagnosis, surgery, lab reports, equipment, etc. To increase your odds of safer medical care, keep the following tips in mind.
- Tell your doctors everything about all medicines you’re taking – including prescriptions, over-the-counter meds, vitamins, dietary supplements, etc. In fact, it’s a good idea to bring all of your meds with you to the doctor’s office and hospital.
- Make sure your doctor is aware of any allergic reactions you’ve had to medicines.
- If your doctor prescribes a medicine, do not be shy about asking:
- What it’s for?
- How it’s supposed to be taken?
- What side effects are known?
- Can you take it with other medicines?
- What activity, drink or food should you avoid while on the medication?
- Make sure you can read your doctor’s handwriting if you’re given a prescription
- If you’re scheduled to have surgery, do a bit of research to make sure you’ll be at a hospital where patients have received the same type of procedure.
- Make sure you and the surgeon are on the same page on what will be done.
- (Don’t be shy with this one) Ask all hospital workers who will touch you as part of their jobs to wash their hands.
- When you’re ready to go home, ask your doctor to fully explain any treatment plan you’ll be expected to follow.
- Ask a family member or friend to serve as an advocate for you. Explain to them that you just need for them to be a part of the discussions you have with your doctor.
The Fitzgerald Law Firm: Known for Holding Doctors Accountable
We’re happy to share these tips with you because we want to limit the frequency of medical errors. Whether you’re at a doctor’s office or in the hospital, you’re there to get better, not worse.
If something does go wrong, remember The Fitzgerald Law Firm. We’re proud of our national reputation for securing proper compensation for those who have suffered from medical malpractice. In fact, we’ve helped our clients recover over $1 billion collectively for their experiences. We can do the same for you.
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of medical error, call us for a free consultation at 800-323-9900.