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Five simple tips to avoid suffering a hospital injury

In our previous posts we discussed the recent report in Health Affairs which indicates that as many as a third of hospital patients suffer a medical malpractice related injury. We also discussed the program launched by the Department of Health and Human Services to help curve hospital negligence injuries and save 63,000 patients' lives.

Patients do not need to rely solely on the HHS program or even doctors to prevent suffering malpractice injuries. The Los Angeles Times reports that the HHS recently released a patient fact sheet with five ways that a patient can help avoid a medical malpractice injury.

  1. Ask questions about your medical care. If you have doubts or concerns about a procedure or a medicine, be sure to seek clarification from a physician. Also make sure you understand the physician's answers.
  2. Create a list of all the medications that you take. This list should include all prescription and non-prescription medicines and any drug allergies you have. Also be vigilant about the side-effects of medications and notify your pharmacist if your medicine looks different than you expected.
  3. Get results for tests or procedures. Just because a doctor does not follow up with you after a test or procedure does not mean that everything is okay. Be sure to follow up with your doctor and ask what the results mean for your health.
  4. Have a discussion about the best hospital for you. Ask your doctor about which hospital can provide the best care for your condition and ask whether you have multiple options. Also ask for clarification about any follow up care you may need after you leave.
  5. Make sure you understand your surgery. Ask your doctor exactly what will be done during the surgery, how long it will take, and what the recovery process will look like.

Remember that these questions and tips can lead to better healthcare and that an experienced medical malpractice attorney can assist you if you are injured by a hospital's negligence.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Hospital errors -- how to avoid them," Marissa Cevallos, 4/8/11

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