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How Can You Protect Yourself from Medical Errors Better? Here’s Some Tips

Patient Safety Should Be a Hospital’s Number One Priority

When you or a loved one goes to the hospital, you expect your doctors and nurses to make patient safety their number one priority. Unfortunately, that does not often happen. For example, did you know that many doctors often do not read nurses’ notes in your medical chart? The practice of medicine has become such a large profit center for hospitals and insurance companies that the needs of individual patients unfortunately get neglected. When this happens, medical errors are inevitable.

Tips on How to Help Ensure Your Safety and Protect Yourself from Medical Errors

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to fully protect yourself from being injured by a medical error. While there is no foolproof way to ensure that you or your loved one will receive the necessary and proper medical treatment, the following tips may help avoid tragedy. At Snyder & Wenner, P.C., we have combined experience of over 75 years holding hospitals and healthcare providers accountable for their errors. To try to keep yourself safe, follow these tips:

  • Ask questions! Never feel that you will be a burden on the nurses or doctors if you ask questions and take an interest in the care being provided to you.
  • Before any medication is administered, check the medication’s name and dose to ensure it is correct, and ask why that medication was ordered for you.
  • Provide information to the doctors and nurses that can help them to diagnose your condition. Do not assume they will figure it out themselves.
  • Before any surgery or procedure, make sure you speak to the doctor who will be performing it. Have the doctor go over ALL of the risks and benefits of the procedure, and ask if a second opinion would be appropriate.
  • Do not sign a blank consent form, even if the nurse or doctor tells you it will be properly filled in later.
  • Formally request your entire medical chart upon discharge from the hospital.
  • If your condition requires surgery, there are some helpful tips that can help protect your safety:
    • Tell the ordering doctor and the surgeon all medications that you are taking, especially blood thinners.
    • Tell the ordering doctor and the surgeon about any allergies you may have to certain medications.
    • Discuss the surgery at great length with the surgeon.
    • Make sure you feel comfortable with the surgeon who will be operating on you.
    • Ask the surgeon if you should get a second opinion prior to going forward with the surgery.
    • Make sure the surgeon has reviewed your hospital records prior to the operation.

No matter how many precautions you take, doctors and hospitals often still make critical errors. If that happens to you or a loved one, you can be sure that we will work hard to fight on your behalf. If you or a family member has been seriously injured, please contact the patient safety advocates at Snyder & Wenner, P.C. today for more information.

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