With medical error now listed as one of the leading causes of death (behind heart disease and cancer), a bit of caution makes perfect sense when choosing a hospital for your upcoming surgery or medical procedure. Here are five tips to help you improve your odds for quality care and reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
- Check the hospital’s safety grade. The Leapfrog Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to healthcare safety and transparency, regularly evaluates and assigns safety grades to hospitals nationwide. You can easily check the safety grade for hospitals in your area by visiting their website.
- Talk to your doctor. Be honest with your physician about your concerns about hospital safety. Ask her which area hospitals she trusts most, and why. Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about hygiene, cleanliness and precautions the hospitals take against medical error.
- Check patient reviews. Look for patient reviews of hospitals online, or ask friends or coworkers about their experiences at various hospitals. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, as many times these stories are unproven; however, repeated similar reports of medical error could point to a pattern.
- Visit the hospital. Many hospitals will allow you to schedule a tour in advance. While there, pay attention to the facilities. Do the rooms look clean? Are doctors using gloves and/or washing hands frequently? Ask the hospital staff what precautions they are taking to prevent medical error.
- Make a list of your prescriptions and treatments. Compile a list of all medications and dosages you’re currently taking, and provide this list to your healthcare professionals before being admitted to the hospital. You are your own best defense against medical error, so make sure your doctors and nurses know what they need to know.
Our experienced Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys can provide more insight into how you can protect yourself against medical errors. Call our office for more information.