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Preventing medical errors: what can patients do? (PART 3)

In the last post in our three-part series, we want to finish off with some other tips that may help you avoid a medical error. A lot of these tips have to do with being vigilant and proactive.

When it comes to general healthcare, make sure you speak up if you have any concerns or questions. It can be helpful to write out a list of questions before you go to your appointment so you do not forget anything. Remember that it is your right to question anyone who plays a part in your care.

Make sure that your doctor knows about your medical history. If you have a hard time remembering, have a family member come with you as your advocate.

If you are waiting to hear about test results, do not assume that no answer is a good answer. Be proactive and reach out so you are sure of your results. Make sure the doctor clearly explains your results and any follow-up care you may need. This is especially true if you are in a hospital setting. When you are being discharged, make sure you have a full understanding of the treatment plan before you head home.

Another thing to consider if you are in the hospital is to ask all medical professionals who will touch you to wash their hands. Being so forward may make you feel a bit uncomfortable but it may be the small, yet important action that protects you from the spread of infection.

Finally, learn as much as you can about your condition from your doctor or other reliable sources. The more knowledge you have about your condition, the more confident you may feel about your healthcare options.

While we definitely do play a part in protecting ourselves from medical errors, we cannot always avoid the negligence of a medical professional. In these cases, the law may be on your side to help you get the compensation you need in order to cover your damages.

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