Medical errors occur can occur at any time during an emergency hospitalization. While some errors are the result of the complexity of the health care system, others may stem from an array of factors. Here are some measures that can help keep your loved ones safe when they need immediate medical care.
- Keep an up-to-date list of the medications your family members take, so you can grab this list at a moment’s notice. Alternatively, put all the medicines and supplements they take in a paper bag to take to the hospital.
- Maintain a current list of all their medical conditions. During a crisis, you may feel too stressed to remember everything the attending physicians should know.
- Apprise the medical team of any allergies or adverse reactions to medication.
- Occasionally, a doctor can perform surgery on the wrong body part or wrong side of the body. Ask the surgeon to put his initials on the site of the intended operation.
- A hospital-acquired infection can be serious. Watch to see whether medical personnel delivering treatment wash their hands first, and be alert for other signs of poor hygiene in and around the area where your loved one is being treated. If you see worrying signs (such as trash left sitting out in a patient area for hours), speak up, and note what you saw. Ask probing (but respectful) questions of your loved one’s nurses and doctors.
- If the hospital transfers your loved one to a regular unit after an emergency room admission, have a primary care doctor coordinate his or her care. This measure will promote adequate communication between specialists and ensure that every medical issue receives attention.
- Loved ones shouldn’t go from the hospital to their home unless they are capable of caring for themselves. To ensure they understand the doctor’s instructions, ask them to repeat the instructions in their own words. Secure a home or offsite caregiver if needed.
Sometimes medical errors have tragic consequences. For more information, see Medical Errors: Third Leading Cause of Death.
Our D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can help you and your family understand your potential options to seek compensation. Call us today for a free consultation.