Medical errors are an atrocity, especially those that are preventable. When you are a patient, you can take steps to help prevent these errors from occurring. One issue is that many patients don’t feel comfortable speaking up when it seems like they are taking a stance against their doctors.

One of the most important things that you can do is to remember that everything these medical professionals are doing can have a direct impact on you. Never be afraid to speak up if you think that something isn’t correct. You might just save your own life or prevent a catastrophic event from occurring.

Another thing that can keep you safer is to apprise your medical team about all pertinent medical events that occur. This means mentioning a new diagnosis or letting them know which herbal supplements you take. Patients need to clearly relay all symptoms to their doctors so that a correct diagnosis is quickly made and treatment begun.

When you are given a diagnosis, make sure that you understand it. Ask what treatment protocol you will follow and the anticipated prognosis. The more information you have, the better.

You need to pay close attention to the risks and benefits of medical procedures. Always question the necessity of risky procedures. You are the only person who can decide if the intended benefits outweigh the potential risks. Understand the methodology of the procedure and its medical purpose.

If you are in for a long day of medical tests — or if you have a complex case — it’s helpful to get someone to accompany you to your doctor’s appointments. This person can listen, take notes and ask questions about your treatment plan.

Being proactive about your health can help prevent medical errors from occurring. If a mistake does occur, your focus might shift to seeking compensation while getting appropriate care for the new issues.

Source: FamilyDoctor.org, “Medical Errors: Tips to Help Prevent Them,” accessed Jan. 26, 2018