Patient safety measures help prevent mistakes and medical malpractice. As studies show that preventable injuries and errors are on the rise, it is no surprise that injured patients initiate most medical malpractice lawsuits. At the Yost Legal Group, we are too familiar with the injuries that occur with what began as a regular hospital visit. As a patient, it is essential to take an active role in your healthcare encounters. Here are some tips to enhance patient safety when receiving care.
In an increasingly complex healthcare system, it can be difficult to know who exactly oversees your care at each stage of a potential diagnosis or procedure. Taking notes can assist you while identifying the functions of each staff member involved in your care. Keeping personal records of your treatment can also help pinpoint if malpractice occurred; this is because mistakes can happen during an exam, surgery—even in a misdiagnosis or prescription error. Writing down the facts of your encounters and the names of each staff member providing treatment puts you in the driver’s seat of your healthcare.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
You are the expert of your own body! Whether you notice changes in your breathing or are in extreme pain, your observations about your body are important. Further, be prepared to offer your healthcare providers a list of any medications you are currently taking—most pharmacies are happy to provide you with a wallet-sized, printed card with your current medications and doses listed. The truth is that no one cares more about your treatment and recovery more than you do! You are not only a patient but a partner in determining your best care.
You should be knowledgeable about your medications, upcoming procedures, and diagnoses. While hospital staff are required to answer patient questions, speaking with knowledgeable individuals is also an excellent way to learn about your ailments. So, do not hesitate to get informed about your care. Staying curious not only allows you to understand what is going on with your body, but a more in-depth understanding helps gauge if you are receiving the correct treatment or seeing the right physician.
Get a Second Opinion
Everyone has had an experience of not being able to get in contact with your doctor, or not being heard in an appointment. To make matters worse, finding the correct professional can be a real challenge! However, looking up online reviews of your doctors and your hospital’s safety ratings can be a good starting point. Doctors have diverse educational backgrounds that allow them to see your healthcare differently. Even hospitals have different levels of care, ranging from a Level 1 community hospital to a Level 3 hospital commonly are affiliated with a major university. Overall, the work of seeking out a physician who gets your unique circumstances, and a hospital facility with the level of services to meet your needs, can avoid more issues in the future.
You can help create a safer healthcare environment for all patients. Medical malpractice happens often, and many injured patients are unknowingly entitled to compensation. If a preventable mistake by a healthcare professional has hurt you or a loved one, contact The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW. Our Baltimore medical malpractice team is available to provide a free and confidential consultation about your rights as a victim of medical malpractice.