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Prevent Medical Malpractice Incidents During Your Hospital Stay

Did you know that hundreds of thousands of medical malpractice incidents take place each year in United States hospitals – and that many of these medical mistakes could have been prevented? While patients do not always have the ability to stop a medical malpractice incident, they do have the power to take several steps that could help them avoid unnecessary doctor errors when they go to the hospital for treatment.

Here are four ways that you can lower your risk of becoming a medical malpractice victim:

•    Have an advocate with you. Whether it is a family member, a friend, or even a private nurse, it is important to have someone at your side who can look after your care and your needs during your stay, especially since you may not be aware during you entire visit. This person can help ask questions, keep track of information, and look out for issues such as complications.
•    Take notes. Write down any questions you might have, the names of medications you are taking, and the names of the doctors and nurses who are caring for you. Also write down any diagnoses or complications. If you are unable to complete this take, have your advocate help you.
•    Know your medications. A large percentage of hospital mistakes involve medications. Don’t take any medication without first questioning your doctor, asking about why you need it, and understanding its possible side effects. Also verify that your doctor is aware of your current medications and any allergies before prescribing medication. In addition, be familiar with how much medication you normally take.
•    Follow doctors’ orders. Don’t try to get out of bed without help if you’ve been told not to, and don’t try to eat or drink if it is not yet allowed. If you questions your doctor’s orders, talk to your health professional to discuss alternate treatments or to find out more about your treatment plan.

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