What can patients do to minimize risk of adverse medical events?

It can be very upsetting to leave a doctor's appointment confused or with unanswered questions. Unfortunately, this is not that uncommon considering the fact that doctors are spending less time with patients. Under these circumstances, mistakes can be made with regard to a patient's care, medication or diagnosis.

To minimize the potential for confusion and adverse medical events after a doctor visit, patients can take a few important steps before, during and after an appointment. 

Before an appointment

You may feel like you can accurately describe your symptoms, but you can forget or incorrectly remember them by the time you visit the doctor. This is especially true if you are very stressed about the visit. As such, you should make a list of your symptoms, as well as your questions and concerns, before you get to the doctor.

During an appointment

Taking notes during an appointment can help you remember details accurately after you have left. You should also not be afraid to ask questions or request clarification. As this Huffington Post article notes, you need to be an advocate for yourself when it comes to your care, and part of this involves speaking up and making sure you understand.

After an appointment

Just because your appointment is over doesn't mean your problem is solved, necessarily. You may need to make a follow-up appointment, pick up a prescription or continue to monitor your symptoms. If you feel that you did not receive the care or attention you expected, consider getting a second opinion.

These few steps can give patients some peace of mind in knowing they are receiving proper care, even when an appointment is stressful and brief. 

Unfortunately, mistakes and oversights can still happen, even when patients and doctors take steps to prevent them. In these situations, there may be grounds to investigate whether any negligence or recklessness contributed to an adverse event. An attorney can be a helpful resource in these situations.

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