It is understood that patients ultimately do not control their doctors and other medical professionals. But there are some ways patients can avoid preventable medical errors themselves, according to a list of 20 tips compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Reduce your chances of becoming a medical malpractice victim
Useful tips include making sure that your medical care is coordinated by a primary care physician who has information about all of your treatments. Also—
- Use reliable sources to do your own research such as WebMD online.
- Speak up when you have questions or concerns.
- Let your doctor know about all of the medicines and supplements you take to make sure you do not suffer from adverse interactions.
- Ask questions regarding medications that are prescribed to you, including what to do if you suffer a bad side effect.
- Make sure you fully understand the instructions received upon discharge from the hospital. Some of the most common preventable diagnostic errors are caused by communication breakdowns between doctor and patient.
WebMD provides specific advice on ways patients can help their doctors make the correct diagnosis. The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are serious: heart attacks and breast, lung and colon cancers. Know your full medical history, write down all your symptoms, and be specific when describing your symptoms to provide your doctor with the most complete information.
Even when patients follow all precautions to limit the risk of medical errors, mistakes during the course of treatment may unfortunately still occur. If you have been the victim of a medical error, the best way to protect your interests is to speak with a medical malpractice attorney here in San Diego who can help you recover fair compensation for the injuries you have suffered.