The Institute of Medicine in the U.S. estimates that close to 100,000 die in hospitals every year thanks to medical errors.
Many medical errors may arise as the result of the patient and doctor not communicating well in asking the right questions or in answering them properly. “The errors may happen at any point during the time a patient and doctor interact, but more commonly, they are at the stage when the physician is doing diagnosis, handing out prescriptions for medication or reading test results,” indicated Robert Webb of Webb & D’Orazio, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer practicing personal injury law, business law, and criminal defense in Atlanta, Georgia
To avoid the possibility of medical errors, the patient needs to be their own doctor to a certain extent. For instance, it only makes good sense that the patient actively participates as part of the medical process; after all, it’s their body. “Interestingly, research is showing that people who are involved in their own care experience fewer medical errors,” commented Webb.
Taking all the medications a person is on to the pharmacist and/or doctor to check what you are currently swallowing may avoid any nasty or sudden drug interactions. This is particularly true in this day and age when people are also taking herbal supplements that might interact with conventional drugs, or when people are taking drugs with the potential for serious side effects. E.g. Fosamax
On a similar note, make certain to check and double-check your prescriptions when you pick them up at the drugstore. Make sure the medication in the bag is the medication that was prescribed by the doctor.
If a hospital stay appears to be inevitable, then ask about what kind of infection control program is on the premises. Stick rigorously to proper hand cleansing and insist the staff also do the same. “Double-check anything and everything about any upcoming surgery, to make sure the medical team understands all the details,” suggested Webb.
Having someone else along for chats with the doctor is usually a good idea as well, as the second set of ears may hear something the patient, who is under stress, may miss. It’s time for people to make a difference in their own health care and approach to wellness. “Being aware and alert, and always asking questions is one of the best ways to avoid medical errors,” advised Robert Webb of Webb & D’Orazio, an Atlanta personal injury lawyer practicing personal injury law, business law, and criminal defense in Atlanta, Georgia.