Every year in California, thousands of patients are injured or even killed due to medical mistakes and errors. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are hardworking and conscientious, but that doesn’t mean mistakes don’t happen.
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a surgical error, misapplied pharmaceutical or other medical error, the effects can be devastating and life-changing. It’s important to understand how to cut down on the occurrence of medical mistakes. Even though it’s impossible for a patient to avoid them, you can reduce your odds of experiencing one.
Be your own advocate
One of the mistakes many people make when dealing with healthcare professionals is not speaking up. It can be tempting to think that you’re in the hands of professionals and that nothing will go wrong.
But an oversight or error could happen at any moment. After all, doctors and nurses frequently see dozens of patients a day, working long shifts. They can overlook symptoms that might indicate a more serious health condition.
If something doesn’t seem right, ask a question or make a comment. If you turn out to be wrong, there’s no harm done. And you might end up catching something that could have led to a medical error.
And as an extension of this – If you’re going to be under anesthetic or otherwise incapacitated, make sure you have a friend or family member on hand to track your care while you’re less than 100%.
Do research before a major procedure
Not all doctors, hospitals and medical facilities are equal in quality of care. And certain hospitals might have extra experience with a condition or surgery, which can tilt the odds in your favor.
Research a doctor or hospital online before scheduling a major surgery or other medical intervention. Or, if you’re not as comfortable doing the research yourself, ask your primary care physician for their recommendations.
It’s not possible to avoid the risk of medical mistakes entirely. But by following a few guidelines, you can reduce your odds of being the victim of a medical error.