A new study has found that medical errors in hospitals and other health care facilities may now be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. These instances of medical negligence claim the lives of 251,000 patients in the U.S. every year, which accounts for about 9.5 percent of all annual deaths.
What can patients do to protect themselves from these life-threatening errors? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers a few tips for patients to be their own medical advocate in order to prevent errors. A few highlights from the Agency’s list are named below.
-Ensure all your doctors know about every medication you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.
-Bring all of your medicines and supplements to your doctor visits to ensure your physician has your records up-to-date and answers any questions or concerns you have.
-Tell your physician about all allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
-Make sure you can read all prescriptions you receive.
-When being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain your home treatment plan including taking new medicines, scheduling follow-up appointments, and getting back to regular activities.
-Make sure that you, your doctor and your surgeon agree on the exact procedure.
-If you can, choose a hospital where many patients have had the same procedure or surgery you need. Research shows patients tend to have better results in hospitals that have experience with their condition.
-Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
-Make sure that all your doctors have your medical records and other important health information.
-Ask how and when you will get test results.
-Learn about your condition and treatments by discussing them with your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.
What to Do if You were Injured
Responsible parties must be held accountable when their carelessness results in the death or injury of an unsuspecting patient. For decades, the medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss have been obtaining justice and compensation for people who were harmed as a result of medical negligence. If it happened to you or a loved one, we can help. Contact our firm to speak with our Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical negligence lawyers today.