According to a study by Hearst Newspapers, medical malpractice claims the lives of approximately 200,000 people a year. The study also asserts that medical malpractice is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. It’s frightening to think that almost 200,000 people die each year from preventable mistakes.
It would be irresponsible, however, to assume that we, as patients, have no control over the outcome of a doctor’s visit or surgical procedure. By being pro-active with our own healthcare, and staying on top of our own treatment, we can work to avoid the potential mistakes that could change, or even end our lives.
Asking questions is key to understanding what is going on with your healthcare. Ask your provider all of the questions you can think of, and if you can’t think of any, bring someone with you who can. Ask about your prescriptions and procedures; what are they, what are they meant to treat, are there any alternative treatment options? Ask how often your provider performs the procedure you are about to undergo. What is the success rate? Failure rate? Ask about what you can do to prepare for a procedure. What can you expect doctors and nurses to do in preperation for your procedure? Ask what to expect from your recovery. What activities should you avoid in recovery? What can you do to assist your recovery? Ask your doctor when you should follow-up. If the follow-up plan changes, ask why!
Use the sources available to you to research the doctor or hospital providing your medical care. Websites like Medicare’s Hospital Compare, The Joint Commission’s Quality Check, and The Leapfrog Group are all available to provide you with information regarding the history and safety of your medical institution.
Infection control is a major area of concern that you should pay close attention to. Your state health department website will also have pertinent information regarding health and safety records for hospitals and physicians.
You want to be informed about yourself as well. Know your past medical history. Bring lists of all of your medications and allergies. Keep test results in your own medical file. Always have copies of your hospital discharge papers sent to your primary care physician.
You may even request copies for your own medical file (This would come in handy should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of suing for medical malpractice).
Too many ailments go undiagnosed because both doctor and patient fail to follow-up. We assume that when we get tests done, we will be alerted of any undesirable results. That is not always the case. If we are sent to a specialist for those tests, many times the specialist assumes the doctor will follow-up, and vice versa. Be in charge of your own medical care, and personally follow-up!
NJ and PA Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical Malpractice, as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., is far to prevalent. Precautions must be taken on the part of patient and provider in order to begin shrinking these numbers of medical malpractice related death and injury.
If you or a loved one have suffered due to Medical Malpractice, contact the Mininno Law Office for a free consultation or call at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Our hardworking and experienced medical malpractice attorneys are dedicated to earning victims of negligent medical care the compensation they deserve.