At some point or another, we all end up having to go to the hospital. Maybe it is for a routine procedure, such as having outpatient surgery or testing performed. Perhaps you have suffered an injury and require emergency medical care. In other cases, a more serious illness or injury may require an ongoing hospital stay. Regardless of the reason you go to the hospital, it is important to be aware of the risks involving healthcare associated infections and medical errors. As medical mishaps have become more common, there are precautions you can take both before and during your hospital visit or stay that can help to ensure you safety while you are there.
Before Going to the Hospital
According to the consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports, roughly one in four hospital patients will suffer some sort of hospital or medical error during the course of their stay. Hospital errors include medical misdiagnosis, surgical errors, healthcare associated infections, and other adverse events. The best way to ensure your safety is to be your own healthcare advocate. Consumer Reports recommends taking the first steps in getting the care and treatment you deserve by doing the following things before going to the hospital:
- Check your hospital ratings, especially in terms of infection rates.
- Schedule an appointment in advance to talk with your doctor about your stay, any dietary restrictions you may have, and concerns you have about any procedures you are having done.
- Make a list of all over the counter and prescription drugs or herbal supplements you are taking. Include the dosage amounts and how the length of time you have been taking them.
- Try to schedule procedures mid-week, avoiding weekends and holidays when staff is fewer and more stressed.
- Ask someone to be your helper, in terms of going with you when you are admitted, and taking notes regarding doctor’s instructions.
- Prepare a living will and health care proxy before you go.
During Your Hospital Stay
You can protect yourself during your hospital stay by following this checklist from the American Association of Retired People (AARP):
- Make sure your hospital identification bracelet has the correct information on it.
- Get to know the hospital staff by name, and make sure they know your name and why you are there.
- Keep hand sanitizer by your bed, and make cleanliness a priority for everyone who enters your room.
- Bring a notebook and keep a journal. Record when medications are given, when you speak to doctors, when tests are conducted and when intravenous devices are inserted.
- Speak up if something does not feel right. Trust your gut and do not be afraid to ask questions.
Let Us Assist You
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medical error or hospital mistake, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, our attorneys understand the serious nature of these injuries, and can assist you in holding responsible parties accountable for their actions. With offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we are happy to help you today.