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Things every patient should know about doctor errors

When a serious medical mistake occurs in a New York hospital, it's often only after the damage is done that patients realize the error could have been avoided. Sadly, hospital negligence is responsible for countless injuries, illnesses and deaths each year around the country. Here are a few key points every patient should keep in mind to protect themselves against life-threatening medical mistakes.

Patients Beware

Many people admitted to the hospital may not be aware that their medical charts are vulnerable to misuse. Once opened, personal medical records can be reviewed by everyone from physicians to insurance reps to other providers, increasing the likelihood of exploitation. Patients are, therefore, advised to monitor personal information like credit scores after a hospital visit.

It’s also important to keep track of who has access to one’s case and why. Every patient is allowed to specify whether or not they are comfortable with interns and/or med students being on their care team. Furthermore, hospital patients have the right to hold medical providers to proper hygiene standards. The risk of infection can be greatly decreased by insisting that all hospital staff wash their hands correctly before any consultation.

Issues like nurse understaffing and long ER waits are linked to patient fatality rates. Therefore, it’s recommended that patients avoid hospitals contending with nursing shortages. On the same note, such staffing issues can affect response times to patient care in the hospital room.

Finally, hospital patients should never assume that the medication they receive is correct. Serious and potentially deadly medication errors can be avoided by confirming the prescription and dosage given every single time.

Source: Yahoo! Health, “Protect Yourself: Eight Common Mistakes Made by Hospital Staffs,” Cindy Kuzma, Oct. 7, 2013

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