According to a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine, as many as 98,000 people die each year in a hospital because of medical errors. Medical errors are mistakes that can happen with your medicines, surgery, diagnostic tests or other aspects of your health care.
Examples of medical errors include:
- Getting the wrong medicine
- Getting the wrong dose of a medicine
- Surgery on the wrong part of the body
- Foreign body left in the body after surgery
- Wrong diagnosis
- Mismatched blood transfusion
There are a few basic steps you can take to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of medical error.
- Choose your healthcare providers carefully.
- Be an active participant in your care. Ask questions about your condition if you have concerns. Stay informed about your medical condition so you can participate in the decisions about your health care.
- Make sure you understand the results of any diagnostic tests or procedures. If you have a medical test, call to get the results if you do not get them from your doctor. Don’t assume that no news is good news.
- Keep a list of all the medicines you take. Bring the list with you each time you visit your doctor or if you go to the hospital.
- Tell your healthcare providers about your prior medical history—don’t assume they are familiar with your medical conditions.
- Make sure that the medicine you are taking is the correct medicine that was prescribed for you.
- If you need to be hospitalized, ask your doctor about which hospital is best for treating your particular medical condition.
- If you need surgery, make sure you understand your options, what surgery will be done, how long it will take, how long you will be in the hospital and what you can expect after the surgery.
For More Information, Contact Harrell & Nowak
If you'd like more information about protecting yourself from medical errors, please contact the New Orleans office of Harrell & Nowak. A member of our staff would be happy to speak with you.