Improve the Care You Receive at Medical Facilities by Being Prepared

The story circulates at a dinner party or over coffee: Someone goes to the hospital for routine care, a mistake is made at the medical facility and the person ends up in worse condition than when he or she was first admitted.

Minor mistakes - that could be easily avoided - can lead to disaster in medical facilities. Recently, a woman was so distressed by the number of mistakes made during her father's hospitalization that she wrote a book, creating checklists for monitoring care during a hospital stay.

If you have ever been in a hospital, you may think of a number of items you wish you had brought with you or questions you wished you had asked your health care providers before you left. To help you be prepared before you or a loved one is hospitalized, consider these issues.

Medication Errors

There is a lot of buzz about medication errors as medical facilities and pharmacies change over to computerized systems. Some states are even mandating use of such systems in order to reduce prescription errors. During the medicating process, errors can occur during any of the various stages each drug must go through:

  • Procuring
  • Prescribing
  • Dispensing
  • Administering
  • Monitoring its impact

Errors occur most frequently with the prescribing and administering stages but all are important.

Hospital or Clinic Errors

It is vitally important to maintain your personal medical history in writing and to keep a notebook or journal to document what is occurring during a hospitalization or outpatient medical procedure. Many health care providers do not have the same amount of time you do to scrutinize the details of care provided. To the extent you are able, research and review particulars of your care and:

  • List what to bring to the hospital during a stay
  • Continually update your medical history
  • Double-check all diagnoses
  • Know your treatment options
  • Review possible adverse events for each medication administered

Most importantly, follow your gut instinct and question anything that does not seem right. If you believe you have been injured due to a medical error or if you believe you did not receive proper care, consult with a personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer who is knowledgeable with negligence and medical malpractice matters can help you seek compensation for your losses.