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Questions to ask when visiting the doctor

New Mexico residents who are planning to see a doctor soon may want to consider asking their physician a few questions in order to ensure that they are getting the best treatment possible. Patients may be unaware that they can advocate for their own care, and asking the right questions and honestly answering a doctor's enquiries could prevent medical errors that may potentially be life-threatening.

Statistics show that one out of every 20 patients may be misdiagnosed. However, a patient may be proactive in avoiding a possible medical error by confirming the details of their medication and diagnosis. Asking how to know that a treatment is working could also help a patient be more aware of the signs to look for when it's not.

Moreover, a patient should not be afraid to ask about their doctor's complication rates in comparison to the national averages of a procedure. A physician who answers honestly may be more cognizant that complications can arise in any surgery and may be more vigilant to prevent them. Furthermore, if possible, scheduling an elective surgery at the beginning of the week may be less risky than at the end of the week. Complications tend to occur in the first 12 hours after a procedure, and a patient's primary doctor may not be available to take immediate action during the weekend.

A delayed diagnosis or a medication error could have fatal consequences and cause a patient to experience a great deal of pain and suffering. In that event, a patient whose condition worsens due to a doctor's negligence may have grounds to file a medical malpractice suit. An attorney could advise a patient throughout the filing process and collect evidence like the patient's medical records to build a strong case against the liable parties.

Source: Care 2, "5 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You Unless You Ask ", Ann Pietrangelo, August 04, 2014

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