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Precautions for Illinois patients to prevent hospital negligence

Hospital negligence is a nationwide concern, especially for patients in Illinois. While some instances of negligence may be managed and corrected with the right intervention at the right time, some cases remain where the consequences of hospital negligence are dreadful for patients and their families. Hospitals, doctors and nurses must work together to prevent such incidents but patients and families should also take some precautions, as well.

For example, a hospital patient should always question healthcare workers who will be touching them regarding frequency of hand washing. Hand cleansing is not only hygienic but also prevents the spread of infections from other patients in the hospital. Patients and families must also understand the treatment plan because they may be able to identify any anomalies that hospital staff may have overlooked by mistake.

A surgical patient should always ensure that all doctors involved with the procedure agree with the treatment plan. Doing so can prevent surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgeries, the consequences of which can be very serious and at times, deadly. Another smart decision is to choose a hospital that has considerable experience in performing the required surgery. In fact, research has shown that patients have better results when they are operated on by doctors and other healthcare professionals who have extensive experience with that procedure.

In order to prevent negligence at hospitals, it is also important that a patient reports any discomfort or concern so that hospital staff does not miss a small problem that might lead to serious consequences. It is also important to have the patient's primary doctor review the hospital's treatment plan because that doctor usually knows the patient's personal and medical history, which can be immensely helpful in the event of a medical emergency at the hospital.

Source: AHRQ.gov, "20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors," Accessed on Feb. 4, 2015

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