The modern hospital setting is a potentially dangerous place where vulnerable, sick patients go to seek help from often overworked, stressed out medical professionals.
Society expects doctors and surgeons to be super human but they are simply over-matched by the complexity and volume of perplexing medical cases they must treat and cure.
By some estimates, close to 100,000 patients die every year due to preventable errors by hospital staff. If you or a loved one must spend time in a hospital, here are tips for protecting yourself amidst the administrative chaos:
- Make sure every healthcare professional who examines you dons protective gloves or washes his or her hands first
- Keep track of medications you are receiving and know what each pill or injection is for
- Read your patient chart and ask questions about the prescribed course of treatment
- Do not sign any medical consent form until you fully understand what procedure is being be done, by whom, and the risks
While there is a popular saying that ignorance is bliss, this adage does not hold true during a hospital stay. In essence, you are the only one who is present for all medical consultations, paper cups of pills, and medical procedures given to you, so take an active role in your own care.
Do not feel that questioning the medical staff is disrespectful or fear you will be labeled a difficult patient. At least do not let these fears prevent you from taking steps to prevent becoming the next medical malpractice victim or statistic.
Dr. Michael M. Wilson is an attorney and a physician who earned his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his legal and medical degrees from Georgetown University. He has focused in the area of medical malpractice for more than three decades and secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts on behalf of clients throughout the country. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and New York as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is listed in America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.