Going to the doctor for any sort of medical procedure can be nerve-wracking even in the best of circumstances. Adding the possibility of medical malpractice on top of that can increase stress levels. That is why a wrongful death lawyer from our friends at Schehr Law have put together some tips to help prevent medical malpractice so that your loved ones stay safe, healthy, and alive.
Tip #1: Bring a Friend
For major medical procedures, it is best to not go alone. Take a friend or family member, or even multiple people. These people can help keep track of important things such as medicine schedules, and they can also ask questions you might not have thought of. Most importantly of all, they can be your advocate during your stay in the hospital. If you tell the medical staff attending to you that you are experiencing strange symptoms and the staff chooses to ignore you, your friends or family can stand up for you and push for more to be done. Sometimes it can be difficult to voice your opinion or come across clearly if you are in pain or still coming off of anesthesia from your procedure.
Tip #2: Mark the Area
If you are going in for a procedure on your right arm, it can be helpful to mark your arm. The medical staff should use a marker to draw on your arm to designate the area where they plan to do the procedure. However, there are several cases where they actually chose the wrong appendage and operated on the completely wrong area. Sometimes finding a safe way to designate the area yourself can also help.
Tip #3: Ask Questions
Never be afraid to ask questions. If something is not right, bring it up. Make sure it is explained until you understand it. There have also been cases where a patient was not sure what was happening, felt uncomfortable asking questions, and then ended up health complications down the line from the wrong procedure — some even died after. This is also why it is important to bring a family member or friend along. They can give you the courage to ask questions or even voice when they fear something might be amiss.
Tip #4: Document Everything
Take notes. Have your advocates take notes. Get copies of your records at each step of the process. This can encourage the medical staff to be extra vigilant, and it also helps later if something goes wrong to show proof. Additionally, you might notice a mistake in the files or in something that someone said which can actually lead to saving your life. The smallest details are the most important in medical procedures.
Tip #5: Walk Away
If the doctors refuse to answer your questions and the nurses are not helping, walk away. Do not go through with the procedure. Find a different doctor or even a different hospital. It is also highly encouraged that you always seek a second opinion just to make sure you are going down the right path for your health.
While these tips should help keep you safe, they cannot fully prevent medical malpractice from happening, which can lead to serious injury or death. If you or a loved one has had medical problems, contact a lawyer near you for help.