Loved One About to Have an Operation? Here's a Hospital Safety Checklist

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 17-Jul-2017

Hospitals are centers dedicated to our health. As such, we’d love to assume that they are safe spaces by definition. Unfortunately, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical error is now the third most common cause of death in the United States. The silver lining (of sorts) is that we can greatly reduce these risks by being proactive—by doing our due diligence. If you have a loved one entering the hospital for a procedure within the next couple of weeks, help keep them safe by following this hospital safety checklist.

  • Consult with your loved one’s doctor in advance. Make sure you and the patient both understand the upcoming procedure, what steps will be taken and why those steps must occur. Ask lots of questions. Take written notes.
  • Have your loved one name at least one health care proxy, and fill out an advanced care directive. In the event your loved one becomes unable to make important medical decisions regarding her care, she needs a trusted proxy who will enforce her known wishes, whether it’s you or someone else. Obtain all necessary permissions from the hospital beforehand so doctors and nurses can share medical information with you.
  • Gather all medical records prior to the procedure. Include a list of current medicines and dosages, any known medical allergies or drug interactions and prior test results related to your loved one’s condition. Don’t assume the hospital has this information or that the information will find its way to everyone. Bring these materials to the hospital, and keep a copy with the patient at all times. Make sure all doctors and nurses see these materials before treating the patient.
  • Gather a team of advocates. Ask family members and friends you trust to help you watch over your loved one in the hospital and keep medical personnel accountable. Make a schedule (preferably round-the-clock) so a trusted ally is always present (or at least on call) during the hospital stay.

For more information on how minimize the likelihood of medical error, check out our recent post on the subject.

If you believe you or someone you love has been harmed by medical error, our Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can assist. Please contact us to learn more.

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