As a patient, you are a partner in your healthcare. By paying close attention to what is happening to you in the doctor’s office and asking questions, you can help protect yourself from medical error. While there are certainly mistakes that are out of your control, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk.
1. Communicate with Your Whole Team
When you are diagnosed with a serious illness, chances are high that you will begin dealing with more than one medical professional. Always keep each member of your team informed. Talk to each doctor about medication your have been prescribed, make sure all those involved in your care know about allergies or reactions that you have, and get important information about your health history into the hands of each doctor charged with your care.
2. Understand Your Medications
When you are prescribed medication, ask questions. Know what you are being prescribed, for what condition and how you should expect it to help you. Ask for written information about side effects. Before you head out of your doctor’s office, take a look at the prescription you are handed. If you have trouble reading it, the pharmacist may, too.
3. Learn More
Once you are diagnosed, learn all that you can about your illness or condition. Don’t just look on the Internet or ask friend and family what they know. Ask your doctor for reliable, written information that will teach you what you need to know. At a minimum, you should understand what your diagnosis means, the treatment options available to you and how your illness can be managed.
4. Talk to the Pharmacist
Many people go to the pharmacy, hand over their prescription, grab their medication and go. Did you know that you can talk to the pharmacist or pharmacy staff? Read your medication labels before you walk out the door and ask questions if you have them. Ask how to measure liquid medications if necessary. You should have no questions by the time you leave the pharmacy.
5. Take a Buddy
You have the right to take a friend or family member along when you visit the doctor. If you are nervous or not good at speaking up, choose someone who will ask questions for you. A second set of ears is always a good thing to have as well. Your loved one may remember the things that you forget.
Take a role in your own healthcare. This is one of the best ways that you can avoid medical errors. When you are informed, you are more likely to catch mistakes before they happen.
If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice in Charleston, reach out to our team of attorneys. We are here to assist you and will provide your first consultation at no cost. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm.