Ways to Avoid Common Errors that Occur at Hospitals

Going to the hospital is scary no matter what age you are.  These visits are necessary if you are facing a serious illness or emergency situation.  The stakes are higher and any mistake could be costly and fatal.  There are a few common mistakes that can be avoided when you visit a hospital to make sure you get the best possible care.

1. Improper Medication

At the hospital, you may be required to take medication throughout your visit.  There are many other patients taking their pills also.  To safeguard yourself or loved one throughout the visit, make sure you ask your doctor to list the medicine you will take and what the medicine is for.  Later when you receive your dosage, you can verify that you are taking the right medicine.  Doctor James Merlino of the Cleveland Clinic said that “medication errors can and do kill people.”

2. Improperly Trained Doctors

Hospitals are training centers for students and recent graduates of medical school, who are referred to as residents.  Occasionally, they appear no different than senior staff doctors who are responsible for making decisions about your care.  If you are presented with options for your treatment, especially surgery, make sure you consult with the attending physician so you fully understand the risks of your decision.

3. Unresponsiveness to Call Signals

Each hospital bed is equipped with a button to call a nurse to your bedside, but there is no way of telling how long you will have to wait.  In 2012, the University of Michigan at Flint did a study of four hospitals about response time.  Overall, patients at those hospitals waited up to 18 minutes for a reaction.  To make sure you get help with emergencies, ask your nursing staff about the procedure to call the rapid response team.  Normal requests like bed adjustments can wait as they are not life threatening.

4. Understaffed Nurses

The primary caregivers at hospitals are the nursing staffs.  But they are also a controllable cost for directors at each hospital.  A study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that patients at understaffed hospitals are two percent more likely to die because they do not receive the care they need.  Before choosing a hospital, review the ones that nurses prefer, often called “Magnet Hospitals”.  That way you can ensure you receive timely care from a happy nursing staff.

There are ways to protect yourself while you are receiving medical care.  Ultimately, the hospital staff is responsible if anything bad does occur.  If you or a loved one have received improper care, then contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Hinsdale today.

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