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Some basic measures that can help prevent medical negligence


Chicago residents probably know that the misdiagnosis of a medical condition can be costly and extremely traumatic. Similarly, medication, anesthesia or surgical errors can also have serious consequences. Such errors often occur due to a healthcare provider's negligence. While victims of such incidents have the option of suing, it is wise to try to prevent such incidents in the first place. After all, prevention is a better option than a cure, if a person is given a choice.

According to a report published by the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 people die in American hospitals every year because of lapses in patient safety. That is a startling number, and therefore the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in association with the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association, came up with five basic safety measures to prevent such incidents of medical negligence.

  • First of all, a patient and that patient's family members must resolve all doubts with their doctor and nurses during the treatment. It is advisable for the patient to speak with a familiar doctor. That doctor should be well acquainted with the treatment plan.
  • For medications, the patient should inform the doctor in advance about all medications. Additionally, it is important to inform the doctor about drug allergies. When being prescribed new medications, the patient should ask about the possible side effects and make sure that the patient buys exactly what the doctor prescribed.
  • It is also important to obtain and understand all test and medical procedure results. If there are any doubts, those doubts should be resolved quickly.
  • If the treatment requires a hospital stay, the doctor should advise the patient about the best hospital for that particular treatment. When leaving the hospital, it is important for the patient to thoroughly understand the follow-up care plan.
  • In the event of surgery, it is important to ensure that all doctors and surgeons attending to the patient agree on the surgical procedure. It is also important that the patient resolve all doubts about that procedure, including what is supposed to be done and how long the procedure should take.

Source: AHRQ.gov, "Five Steps to Safer Health Care," October 2014

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