As a patient, you put your life in the hands of medical professionals when you are dealing with a health concern. As is the case in most professions, some are more proficient than others.
However, in the United States, over 250,000 people die at the hands of healthcare professionals each year; after cancer and heart disease, medical errors rank as the third leading cause of death. Although those caring for you are well-educated, they are typically overworked. As a result, you may want to consider how you can decrease the chances of errors that could occur in your treatment.
You can minimize your risk of medical errors
In many cases, you might want to seek additional information to ensure you understand your doctor’s orders. While the internet has a wealth of information, it is better to receive care instructions from those caring for you.
Asking questions about what you can expect from your treatment, including benefits or side effects, can help you determine when further concerns might present. Additional things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering from medical errors include:
- Get the app your healthcare system uses – When your medical chart is easily accessible to you, it is easier to manage your medications, communicate with your healthcare team and stay aware of how your conditions and treatment options change.
- Have someone attend appointments with you – In many cases, receiving a medical diagnosis can be overwhelming. It is often helpful to have another person with you to help lessen the blow of bad news or to ask questions you may not think of at the moment.
- Ask another physician – Doctors “practice” medicine; they don’t always know the answers. Getting a second opinion might be a way to avoid unnecessary surgery or explore other options since some doctors have more experience in one area than another.
Despite remarkable medical advances, it may seem as though there is a disparity in the healthcare system. While those caring for you likely mean well, administrators may continue focusing on financial statements. However, you have every right to advocate for transparency in your healthcare. And if you suffer from medical errors, you have the right to explore your options.