Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Prevent Injuries Due to Hospital Medical Errors

Being admitted into a hospital is never a pleasant experience, especially when you hear of the high rates of medical errors in American hospitals. Preventable medical errors kill approximately 98,000 American patients every year. However, Arizona medical malpractice attorneys have sometimes found that patients who take a proactive role in their own hospital experience may have a lower risk of suffering the devastating impact of medical errors.

So, what can you possibly do to reduce the chances of becoming the victim of a medical error in a hospital? First and foremost, you must make sure your doctor has plenty of experience performing the exact kind of procedure that is due to be performed on you. Don't be impressed by qualifications and experience on paper. Ask for the numbers of such procedures he has performed at the same facility and on patients with the same health condition as yours.

It helps to become involved in your hospitalization experience. If you're being admitted to hospital in a condition that prevents you from being unable to communicate with doctors and nurses, then take along a patient safety advocate who can deal with medical health professionals on your behalf. It could be a relative or friend. The safety advocate will talk to the doctors about your condition, make sure that you're taking the right medications and in the right doses, and perform other essential duties on your behalf.

Many medical errors occur during shift changes. Ask your nurses about the shift change timings, and be especially alert during these times. Learn how to study your own medical chart. Make sure that you take a list of all the medications you are currently taking before you check in at the hospital. Before nurses and doctors approach you, make sure they are using gloves. Many hospital infections can be traced to a simple lack of hand hygiene.

Some studies point to an increased risk of medical errors in the month of July, when large numbers of new medical residents join hospitals. Other studies show that there is a greater risk of a fatal medical error on a Friday, compared to other days of the week.

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