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Five things to know about preventing hospital mistakes

You can’t always prevent a hospital stay; after all, accidents and emergencies happen. However, if you or a loved one is hospitalized, there are some things you can do about preventing hospital mistakes.

These errors could be minor or catastrophic, but most are preventable.

A Johns Hopkins study published in May suggested that medical errors are the third highest cause of death in the U.S. In fact, about 250,000 people a year die due to hospital mistakes.

How can you protect yourself and your loved ones? Here are five things to know about preventing hospital mistakes.

Use the buddy system

If you can, make sure you have a trusted family member or friend with you while hospitalized. If you are sick or taking medication that makes you drowsy or sleepy, you can’t be your own best advocate. It’s good to have someone taking notes, asking questions and keeping track of your care.

Check the ratings on your hospital – and doctor

If you can choose your hospital, read all you can about its statistics for quality care. And do research on your doctor as well; ask for a referral from a trusted friend or acquaintance if possible.

Ask for your treatment plan

Your doctor should be able to clearly spell out your treatment plan and options – ensuring you can understand and your caretaker can ask questions, double check medications, and dosages and perform the necessary aftercare when you are discharged.

Watch for hand washing

Everyone who comes in and out of your room should be washing up and don’t be afraid to ask a doctor, nurse or aide to wash his or her hands before treating you, administering meds or even fluffing your pillow.

Medicine check

Make sure your doctor knows exactly what medications you are taking and the dosages. Bring the bottles with you! This doesn’t just apply to prescription meds: Tell your doctor all the dietary supplements, vitamins and other things you take on a regular basis.

Schottenstein Law Offices

If you or someone you love has been a victim of a hospital mistake, our legal experts can help. Call us today at (614) 467-8474!