You might be going into the hospital for routine medical treatment or a life-saving procedure. But the hospital stay itself could be putting your health at risk. Each year medical mistakes in hospitals cause approximately 440,000 deaths according to an estimate by Patient Safety America. Consider the following ways to prevent risk of an adverse event during your stay.
Choose a Quality Hospital
Hospitals that receive lower ratings have higher rates of death. It's important to do your research before choosing a hospital. One resource is Consumer Reports, which provides a map of all the states. You just click on your state for an alphabetized list of hospitals.
Another resource is the Joint Commission, where you can check to see if the hospital is accredited. This shows if the hospital complies with certain performance standards.
Also, make sure the hospital has experience with your condition. Certain facilities focus on specific conditions, such as a heart hospital.
Enlist an Advocate
This should be someone you know and trust, such as a family member or friend. This person not only provides support but acts on your behalf when necessary. Bringing someone along to appointments will ensure clarity about the procedure.
Also, that person might think of important questions to ask. Your advocate can also confirm your procedure with surgeons and medication with doctors and nurses, and can make sure the hospital staff practices all hygienic and sanitary practices to reduce risk of hospital-acquired infection.
Keep a journal or log of:
- medications; and
- discussions with a doctor.
Sometimes there is so much information to remember that it becomes confusing. Write down details about the procedure/treatment. If anything goes wrong or appears to be an issue, make note of it. Also write down any potential risks or side effects. If you experience these (or any other ones not mentioned), keep a record of the symptoms. Make note of anything relevant to your hospitalization.
Research Common Types of Hospital Mistakes
Spend time before the hospitalization looking into some of the most common types of errors. This will help you know what to look for and provide valuable information on preventing these mistakes. And of course, if something doesn’t seem right or if you’re confused, speak up!
If you do suffer harm from medical negligence in the hospital, talk to the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for legal assistance. Call us at 304-931-4088.