Mistakes can happen during a surgery, but many of them should not. Surgeons and the medical team supporting the surgery should be taking steps to prevent wrong-site surgeries, wrong-patient surgeries and other medical errors, either before or after surgery.

To help prevent these mistakes, these are some steps you can take as an advocate for your own health. Keep track of what kind of surgery you’re having and ask all questions about the surgery before you agree. Ask your doctor about the medications you should not take before your surgery. Ask if you’re allowed to eat or drink before surgery, and ask about removing your nail polish or trimming your nails; this is sometimes required for accurate readings on machinery.

Ask someone who will come with you to attend the surgery and make sure you can get there and home safely. This person should be an advocate for your health when you are unable to advocate for yourself. For instance, if you’re waking up slowly or feeling unwell, this person should be reaching out to the nurses and doctors to get answers on your recovery from anesthesia or the operation as a whole.

Remember not to wear makeup the day of the surgery. This is because foundation covers your skin, and the doctors and nurses need to be able to see that your blood is circulating correctly.

Our website has more information about surgical errors and what to do if you’ve been victimized. With the right help, you can work toward getting the compensation you need to move forward with your life.