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Working to eliminate medical error

New Mexico residents may know that medical mistakes happen. The leading cause of such errors involves a misdiagnosis, which occurs less often in hospitals than in doctor's offices. Despite the lower number of misdiagnosed hospital cases, such events may have more serious consequences due to the fact that patients who have been hospitalized are usually sicker than those visiting a doctor. Patients may help avoid this by proactively providing the physician with a timeline, noting symptoms and previous health issues.

While misdiagnosis may be a major component of physician errors, being prescribed the wrong medicine happens at times and might have serious consequences. Sometimes patients are seen by multiple physicians, each possibly prescribing medications. It is vital that each physician is aware of all medications the patient is taking since interactions may occur. It might be beneficial for the patient to provide a written list of medications he or she is taking at the first visit, and update the list as needed.

Other errors involve wrong site or even wrong patient surgery. Making hospital personnel aware of the patient's identity is essential. If the patient is too ill to accomplish this, a family member or friend may help. Eliminating wrong site surgery might be done by marking the correct site. Coordination of care is sometimes lacking. To prevent this, patients might wish to make sure one physician is aware of all medical treatments, specialist care and medications. This may serve to lessen the chance of overmedication, unnecessary or wrong procedures.

When a misdiagnosis or medical error occurs, the patient may be harmed, causing physical and financial injury. Speaking with an attorney who has experience in medical malpractice cases may be beneficial. The attorney may review the patient's medical records and consult with experts to determine if negligence occurred. If so, it may be advisable to file a lawsuit seeking damages from the responsible parties.

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