Medical errors caused by negligence or oversight are a common cause of serious injury and illness across the country. These errors can range from mistakes made in surgery to misdiagnosis to incorrect prescriptions. Medical errors cause fatalities as well as a host of serious personal injuries. In many cases, they lead to wrongful death suits or other lawsuits. There are many things that patients can do, however, to reduce the chances of medical error. Experts suggest that all patients:
1) Ask lots of questions. Patients should clarify the prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment for their condition with their physician. Doctors sometimes assume that patients understand more than they do, and this can lead to mistakes. Also, do not assume anything. If tests are being run or treatment being administered, ask for the details. Ask what to expect and why the treatment or tests have been chosen. Ask about alternatives and the pros and cons of each one. Finally, if you have tests run, be sure to follow up and ask what the results are.
2) Take extra precautions when having surgery. Discuss your surgery with your doctor and surgeon to ensure that everyone is clear on what procedures will be performed. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons goes so far as to suggest that surgeons sign their initials directly on the area to be operated on. This reduces the risk of wrong-site surgery and ensures that everyone knows what sort of surgery will be performed.
3) Ask to have one primary doctor in charge of care. In hospitals or in long-term care, many healthcare professionals are sometimes involved. While this can improve quality of care, it can also increase the chances of miscommunication or mistakes. Having one person in charge can ensure that one person you trust is in charge of major decisions.
4) Repeat information as often as necessary. Not every health care worker will read charts carefully or mark down information the same way. Always advise each new healthcare professional you encounter in your treatment about your allergies and conditions as well as the medications you are taking. Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet containing relevant information as well.
Even with all these precautions, medical errors can result. If negligence has caused you or a loved one an injury, contact a good Florida attorney for help. A qualified Florida lawyer will be able to advise you about your options so that you can make the best decisions for you. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation and we never ask for money up front. Call 1- 800-535-2962 (1 800 5 FLAXMAN) for your free consultation.