As patients, many people feel like they’re helpless to prevent malpractice. In many cases, that’s true. However, there are ways that we can lessen the chances of receiving inadequate or improper care.

First, by staying healthy, you minimize the need to see a doctor, undergo surgical procedures and take medication. Simple things like eating right and staying active can go a long way toward spending less time in the doctor’s office.

Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate. Many people hesitate to question their doctors. However, you should ask questions and take time, whenever it’s possible, to make decisions regarding whether to undergo a treatment or procedure. This can include getting a second opinion. If your doctor doesn’t welcome questions, find another one.

Doctors may not enjoy hearing that their patients have been poking around on WebMD or other medical sites because in many cases the information doesn’t apply to a particular patient. However, these sites can be an important source of information and at least give patients ideas for questions to ask.

Always tell your doctor the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you don’t disclose your complete medical and family history, you risk having serious complications from medication and procedures. Tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, even if you don’t think they’re significant. He or she can’t provide the best care unless he or she has all of the necessary information.

It can be very difficult for patients and families to know whether an injury was unavoidable or if it was the result of negligence or error by a medical professional. Medical malpractice attorneys can work to determine whether you have a medical malpractice case.

Source: U.S. News, “Don’t Let Your Doctor Kill You,” Erika Schwartz, M.D., April 06, 2016