You may be among the numerous Albuquerque residents who believe that medical professionals diligently provide the best standard of care to their patients. Sadly, this is not always the case.

In many instances, medical mistakes occur. Some of them are negligible and do not cause any real harm. However, others quickly become serious and/or life threatening.

Can you protect yourself?

You can do several things in order to help ensure that you do not become the victim of a medical mistake, some of which you will see listed below:

  • Some hospital staff and doctors overlook something as simple as washing hands between patients. Don’t be shy about asking anyone who will touch you to do so first in order to reduce the chances of transmitting bacteria, viruses or diseases.
  • Make sure you question your doctor about your treatment plan when you leave the hospital. If you have questions or concerns, this is the time to address them.
  • Make sure your doctor knows what medications you currently take.
  • Make sure your doctor knows of any adverse reactions or allergies you may have to any medications.
  • Bring any supplements and medications you regularly take with you so that you can watch the doctor examine them.
  • Can you read your doctor’s prescription? If not, ask for clarification and a better-written one to avoid any errors.
  • Ask questions regarding any medication your doctor prescribes.
  • Ask questions of the pharmacist when you pick up your prescription. Primarily, make sure it is the right medication in the right dosage.
  • If you need surgery, make sure that everyone has the same information regarding the procedure.
  • If you can, choose to have the surgery at a hospital that performs the procedure often.

Doctors often see several patients in a day. They tend to try to rush through them. Do not let this keep you from asking any questions you may have. Your doctor could very well have your life in his or her hands. A doctor may act as if your questions or concerns are unimportant. He or she may even make you feel “stupid” for questioning his or her authority. Too bad. If you need more time, make sure you get it — or find a new doctor.

In some cases, doctors attempt to blame the patient for any harm done to them — don’t let that be you. The ultimate responsibility for your care is your doctor. If your doctor fails to meet the appropriate standard of care because he or she is in a hurry or fails to listen to your concerns and answer your questions that is not your fault.