When you check into a hospital (whether for an inpatient or outpatient procedure), the last thing you’re worrying about is who could be held liable for injuries. After all, you go to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, hospital errors and medical errors are on the rise – often, they result from poor communication between patient and physician.
As a patient, you have the right to be informed, but also the responsibility to research and prepare for your upcoming procedure.
According to a recent publication in the Huffington Post, deaths related to preventable medical errors are a popular topic. In fact, the Institute of Medicine concluded that 44,000 to 98,000 Americans die each year from such errors. These errors may be preventable by remembering the following.
Central Venous Catheter
This is used as a gateway so that the physician can sample your blood, but also deliver essential medications. Catheters can be considered life-saving devices, but they also increase risks for infection and other complications. Before consenting, or even arriving at the hospital, you should look into the hospital’s history and check its health grade for central venous catheters if you will need one during your procedure. Ask your doctor how long you will have the catheter and then continue to ask once it is in – often, they can be removed much sooner and long before discharge.
Communicate with Your Physician and Care Team
You should always be in constant communication with your physician, and should never be afraid to ask questions or clarify details. At times, things can get jumbled or a physician may leave out a minor detail. If you can, take notes and then review those notes daily. Write down questions as they come up, then ask them the moment you see your physician.
You should also ask for a daily assessment from your physician and record it if you can. Typically, physicians will set care or recovery goals but rarely communicate them with patients unless asked; feel free to ask your physician what your goals are, and their relative timeline.
Be Cautious with Medications
Oftentimes, post-operative pain medications are administered to keep patients comfortable; however, it is possible for physicians to overmedicate. You will heal faster if you are able to enter rehabilitation stages earlier on. Make sure your physician adjusts your pain medication to coordinate with rehabilitation, rather than keeping you comfortable while you are lying in bed.
In a hospital it can be easy to lose track of time or even fall off schedule, but do what you can to maintain a constant sleep and wake cycle. Do activities (even in bed) that keep you occupied during the day so that you do not sleep. If you cannot sleep at night, discuss your options with the nursing staff and your physician, but try to avoid anything too addictive. Remember, you will get back to your normal life soon.
Are You the Victim of Hospital Errors?
Despite being the most informed, well-prepared patient, you could still be the victim of medical malpractice. If you feel you have suffered an injury due to hospital error, contact a malpractice attorney right away. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.