When you go into the hospital for surgery, or even for testing, you shouldn’t have to be the one looking out for doctors’ mistakes. With the cost of healthcare, there should be no medical mistakes in hospitals. Unfortunately, accidents and negligence happen. And too frequently, the patient suffers as a result.
By understanding some of the more common hospital mistakes and why they happen, you can take steps to prevent them.
- Know your doctor. Not just by name, but know about your doctor. Ask questions about their experience and do your own research. Ensure they are board certified as a specialist for your condition and be curious about their history. As with any other service, you are the consumer, and you have every right to ask questions.
- Get copies of your tests, records. Be an informed patient. Ask for copies of everything. When we rely completely on someone else, we open ourselves up to their mistakes. When more than one set of eyes is on something, the risk of error is lower.
- Choose your surgery time. According to Prevention Magazine, avoid weekends whenever possible.
Weekends, nights, and holidays are not the optimal times for operations. Even the lead-up to the weekend can be problematic: “For elective surgery, avoid a Friday afternoon operation slot if possible,” advises a surgeon in a busy Midwestern hospital who asked not to be named. “The operating room staff may be fatigued and less able to concentrate then.”
It gets worse on the weekend. Stroke patients treated in hospitals on Saturday and Sunday were 16% more likely to die than those treated on weekdays, found a recent study from the University of Toronto. Staffing tends to be lighter then; getting lab results takes longer; and on-call docs have to drive in from home.
- Review medical procedures before they happen. Don’t go into a test or surgery blind. Know what to expect beforehand by asking questions. When a new nurse or doctor comes into your room, ask them why they are there, what they are doing, and ensure they are familiar with your case and condition before working on you or administering any medications.
- Ask, ask, and ask. Above all, be an active participant in your own medical care. Don’t let anyone touch you if you aren’t familiar with who they are and what they are there for. If you don’t know them, you may just be “another file” to them. If something is confusing, ask for an explanation.
Regardless of what you do, as a patient, there will always be times that hospital mistakes are made, diagnoses are missed, or medications are miscalibrated. Unfortunately, these “mistakes” can result in tragedy.
Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys
At Baker & Gilchrist, we know that some things should never happen in a hospital, that there are some mistakes that are just unforgiveable. The federal government through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) calls these “never events.” Medicare will not pay for medical expense incurred because of never events. When these happen, you have rights and you may be entitled to compensation.
If you are in need of an Indianapolis medical malpractice attorney or if you just don’t know if you have a case, we can help. Contact our offices today to discuss the specifics and your legal options now.