How To Protect Yourself From Medical Malpractice

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Doctors, nurses, and other members of a healthcare team are often seen as highly knowledgeable individuals who make no mistakes. Some even liken these medical heroes to ancient gods who can raise the dead or cure the incurable. Medical experts certainly enjoy distinction, but when they commit errors, their mistakes can be catastrophic.



People’s high regard for doctors and other medical professionals must not cloud their judgment. They mustn’t forget that surgeons get sleepy, nurses get hungry or doctors get mad or sad. Sometimes, what these medical experts are going through affects their work. This is why if you are a patient in a hospital, you should know how to protect yourself from medical malpractice. Below are a few tips.


– Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people are scared to ask questions for fear of looking stupid. But it’s your life on the line here and it is your right to know how your doctor and his team are going to take care of you. Also, those who work in hospitals often use medical terms that regular individuals have never even heard of. So, if your doctor tells you that he is going to do a “transesophageal echocardiography”, then you should definitely ask him to elucidate in terms that you’ll clearly understand.


– Always be truthful. If your doctor asks you about your past medical history, tell him everything even it involves something embarrassing, like contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Inform your physician about all the medications that you’re currently taking, and let them know of any acute or chronic medical conditions that you may have.


– It’s alright to seek a second opinion. If your family doctor finds out that you have a serious condition, don’t hesitate to go to another physician who can provide you with a second opinion. A good doctor won’t be offended when you do this. In fact, some even encourage their patients to seek a second opinion from other specialists. You should also inquire about alternative treatments.


– Participate in your care. Some people just don’t want to know what’s being done to them. They just want to “get it over with.” The danger here is that if you don’t exactly know what your health problem is and you don’t know what the plan of care is, it will be more difficult for you to spot mistakes. What if a nurse gives you the wrong medicine or what if you get signed up for a wrong procedure? These things do happen and by being more aware about your situation, you protect your health and safety.


– Speak your mind when something feels off to you. Other people don’t want to complain because they don’t want to be called “unpleasant” or “disagreeable.” Always remember that it is your life that’s at stake here. If you feel that you can’t breathe, if you feel pain, or if you feel that something is wrong, tell the nearest medical worker.


– Inquire about the side effects of the medicines that you’re taking. This way, you know what to expect. Some medicines, for instance, cause drowsiness, headaches, or nausea. If you know what the likely side effects are, you will be able to readily determine and report anything that’s not supposed to happen.


Spencer Fielding, a Tri-Cities personal injury attorney, graduated from Duke University in 2007. He has many specializations, including auto and medical injuries.



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