Ask questions -- lots of them!
Patients sometimes can feel like the doctor is pressed for time. But don’t let that keep you from asking questions, however many you may have. Leaving an appointment with uncertainty can be dangerous to your health. How can you prevent medical malpractice? Has the doctor diagnosed you with a new condition? Ask what led to that diagnosis. Being prescribed a new medication? Ask why. Change in the dosage? Question the reasoning behind it. When you don't understand an aspect of your medical care or treatment, it’s important to ask questions.
Get clarification when you don’t understand
Similar to asking questions is clarifying something you don’t understand. Not sure whether it’s safe to mix a newly prescribed medication with another one you’re taking? Make sure you know about the potential side effects or adverse reactions that can happen. How can medical malpractice be prevented? If leaving the hospital and the instructions on the discharge papers aren’t clear, talk to someone.
Medical professionals sometimes use jargon that is difficult to understand. Repeat what you believe was said so that any misunderstandings are cleared up immediately.
Bring along an advocate
When facing a serious medical procedure or feeling so sick it’s hard to focus on your own care, it’s best to have an advocate -- whether it’s a family member or friend. How can you prevent medical malpractice? An advocate asks as both a reminder and a witness. Sometimes he or she will think of questions you might not have. An advocate can verify details, such as what type of surgery is being performed.
Share your medical history
It’s important that the healthcare provider knows about all medications you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins and supplements. A major part of preventing medical malpractice is informing the healthcare provider. Make sure he or she knows about any health issues that you have, such as diabetes, heart disease or known allergies. This information can be an important factor when it comes to medical treatment.
Before undergoing surgery, verify the specifics.
Have the surgeon mark the area where surgery is going to be performed. Talk about the procedure (even if it was already discussed in a prior appointment) just to make sure everyone is on the same page. This allows for any last-minute concerns or questions to be addressed, but it also verifies that the correct type of procedure is being done.
How can you prevent medical malpractice? Take the measures detailed above and don’t be afraid to take control of your care. Despite taking these measures to protect oneself, the fact is that someone could still become a victim of medical negligence. To learn what legal options may be available, don’t hesitate to discuss your case with an attorney at Ryan LLP: 216-363-6028.