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How can a patient help prevent medical error or malpractice?

Medical malpractice and medical error, such as mistakes in anesthesia administration, doctor errors or even surgical errors, such as wrong-site surgery, may cause grave injury or even fatality to a patient. In many cases where medical malpractice has been alleged, the courts have often found that human errors had caused these grave injuries and adversities to patients and that these mistakes could not be termed as medical malpractice and negligence.

Various tactics can be used to help prevent medical malpractice and medical errors. Reportedly, approximately one in seven patients is a victim of medical errors. Such errors may lead to long-term medical problems and they can occur at any time or in any medical facility in the country, including Chicago. Hospitals, nursing homes or other medical institutions may be as likely to commit medical errors as medical practitioners employed by these institutions.

Patients are encouraged to reveal all pertinent details to their medical practitioners in order to avoid the likelihood of medical errors. In many cases, not disclosing all information all medicines or prescription drugs that the patient may be taking may cause unforeseen medical problems. Chemical compounds found in various medicines may react adversely with each other to cause severe complications. A thorough recitation of all pertinent medical details can save the patient from serious medical complications.

In certain cases, the patient may be allergic to certain medicines as well as chemical compounds in a specific medication. Revealing all known allergies is often crucial to a patient's health and overall well-being. It is also advisable for the patient to diligently read all prescribed medications to understand what is in these medicines and how they address the current medical issues. Additionally, the patient should ask questions regarding treatment and the medicines prescribed. Being vigilant about all medications may often help minimize medical errors and avoid medical malpractice.

Source: AHRQ.gov, "20 tips to help prevent medical error," Accessed on April 14, 2015

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