Being in the hospital, even for a routine procedure, can be scary for patients. But, patients should not have to fear that the professionals taking care of them will make critical errors that worsen their condition or lead to death. Hospitals are becoming increasingly safe, but there are still an alarming number of medical errors committed each year – most of which are preventable. If you are going to be a resident of a local hospital, even if just for an outpatient procedure, there are a few things you can do to ensure your hospital stay is safer.
What You Can Do to Prevent Errors During Your Stay
Hospitals should bear the primary responsibility for keeping patients safe, but you and your loved ones can be proactive and ensure physicians and healthcare professionals are doing their jobs. Some things you can do include:
- Checking the hospital ratings and infection rates before booking your stay. If you have the option to pick a hospital in your area for a procedure, do some research before you are admitted. That includes checking the hospital’s current ratings and even their infection rates. Hospital Safety Scores are available for hospitals in your area and they are graded from an A to F based on their rate of error, hospital-acquired infections and more.
- Know the individuals in charge of your care. During a hospital stay, you will not deal with just one nurse or one care professional. So, make sure you get the names of each nurse, doctor and technician overseeing and coordinating your care.
- Bring someone with you to help monitor. You cannot do all of the monitoring yourself, so bring along someone that can advocate for your safety regardless of whether you are conscious or not. You need someone there to act on your behalf, articulate your needs and more.
- Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask care workers to wash their hands. Before a care worker comes in and touches you, you are within your rights to ask them to wash their hands. It is estimated that one out of 25 hospital patients will acquire an HAI (hospital-acquired infection). These can range from stomach infections to blood infections and even urinary tract infections. Just washing their hands could reduce a large majority of these infections.
- Ask questions before consenting to anything. If you do not understand the medical term or fully understand the procedure you are about to have, do not be afraid to ask for more specifics. Also, ask about what medications you are receiving and any time you are confused, bring up that confusion to the healthcare professional.
- Bring medications with you. If you are on prescription medications, taking over-the-counter medications or even supplements, you need to bring those along with you. This ensures that the hospital staff is aware of everything you are taking and can avoid any dangerous drug interactions.
- Ask for a discharge plan in writing. Discharge instructions are often unclear and depending on the procedure, you may be in no position to fully understand what you are being told. That is why it is important that you ask for all discharge instructions and aftercare instructions in writing – so that you can follow them properly at home and avoid any issues.
If you recently stayed in a hospital and suffered from an infection or other injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation for your potential medical malpractice claim. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.