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How can you avoid medical mistakes in the hospital?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Hospitals are scary places. If you’re a patient, you’re probably not in the best shape, and it can easily feel like everything is out of your control.

It’s hard not to be anxious about the possibility of a medical mistake – especially when you hear that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States.

What can you do to protect yourself when you’re most vulnerable?

You are not as powerless to prevent medical errors as you might think. You can – and should – take certain steps to guard your health. These include:

  • Have a “go” kit ready: Even if you don’t anticipate a hospital trip any time soon, get a “go” kit together that can be grabbed in an emergency. Aside from whatever comfort items you may want with you, make sure that your kit contains a complete list of your diagnoses, your medications and your allergies, as well as the names and contact information of your regular health care providers.
  • Take someone with you: It’s always better if you can take someone with you to the hospital so that they can advocate for you if you’re unable to advocate for yourself. Ideally, you may want to take the person who has your medical power of attorney. That way, if you’re unable to ask questions or make decisions for yourself at any point, they have the legal right to intercede.
  • Be vocal about your treatment: It can be uncomfortable to ask a medical provider questions, but it’s essential. Make sure you understand exactly what medication you are being given and why, and what treatments or tests are being done. You also have the right to ask your providers to wash their hands when they come into your room, which can help prevent hospital-acquired infections.

Unfortunately, medical mistakes are so common that it can be impossible to anticipate and prevent every problem. If you fall victim to a medical error, it may be time to learn more about the legal options available to you. Seeking personalized legal guidance is generally a good way to get started.