How can patients help prevent medical malpractice? Part 2

Friday March 6, 2015

As a previous weblog discussed, Connecticut patients might find the reality of distressing medical events somewhat sobering. Specific tips were provided in that post that can help patients avoid the sort of adverse medical events that lead to medical malpractice. That post also talked more in depth about problems with medications and how to prevent or avoid them. This post will do something similar and discuss precautions patients should take whenever they face a hospital stay or surgery.

What is one common health threat that faces all hospital patients? Infectious disease. The typical hospital has concentrations of patients and health-care workers who are there to assist them. This means it includes people with a variety of medical conditions, some which are transmissible infections. If basic precautions are not followed during a hospital stay, you may become ill. One basic prevention measure is to make sure anyone who is going to touch you washes his or her hands first.

What potential threats do patients face once discharged from a hospital? A lack of information about what a physician expects from his or her patient can often lead to trouble. What treatment plan are you supposed to follow at home? Should you continue taking the same medications you were taking during your hospital stay? If yes, what are the right dosages? You should also know when to schedule follow-up appointments and when you can resume your regular activities.

What questions should patients ask about surgery? If you need surgery, discuss it with your doctor and surgeon and make sure they both know exactly what is planned and why. Choosing the right hospital for a specific surgery is critical. Research has shown that patients have better results when their surgeries are done in hospitals that are experienced with their types of operation.

Source: AHRQ.gov, “20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors,” Accessed Feb. 26, 2015

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