Hospital mistakes happen more frequently than many might think, ranging from surgical errors and infections, to misdiagnosis and medication blunders. Despite the hospital being a place that is supposed to make people better, a hospital stay can in some cases turn a medical situation into something much worse.
Ways to Stay Safe When Hospitalized
The first tip to stay safe when hospitalized is to have a copy of the patient’s own medical records. Information should include any instructions given by a doctor or nurse, list of medications, diagnoses and anything else that may be relevant. It’s a good idea to keep this information in a file folder or binder. This way, facts can be crosschecked.
A second tip is to bring along an advocate, such as a family member or friend. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. One is when the patient is very ill and unable to take in all of the information. Another reason is that even if the patient is alert, a second pair of eyes and ears may be able to notice a problem or mistake.
A third tip is to make sure all healthcare workers have been practicing good hygiene. If a patient notices someone hasn’t washed his or her hands, request that it be done. The same should apply to any visitors. Hand washing could help avoid spreading dangerous infections in the hospital.
Fourth, if going in for surgery, verify the procedure being done. Since surgical mistakes are among the common types of negligence in a hospital, it’s critical to double-check the site of the operation, the type of operation, and details of the surgery with the surgeon before the procedure.
Finally, before being discharged, make sure the treatment or recovery plan is well-understood. Look over the discharge papers and ask the doctor questions if uncertain about anything.
Contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates for legal consultation, to review case details, or help determining if complications from a stay at the hospital was a result of hospital errors or medical malpractice.