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Patients encouraged to protect selves from medical malpractice

Too often, it’s not until a serious mistake happens that a hospital patient may realize that his or her health or safety was compromised by a trusted medical provider. Thousands of fatal accident incidents occur every year in hospitals across California and other states, alerting patients to the fact that the burden can fall on them to be proactive in protecting themselves against medical mistakes and negligence.

Every patient should know:

The majority of hospital patients may not be aware that their medical records are vulnerable to exploitation in some instances. When someone is admitted to the hospital, everyone from pharmacy personnel to physicians to insurance reps can gain access to their personal charts. It’s recommended, then, that patients monitor details like their credit scores following a visit.

It’s also important for patients to know who is familiar with their case and why. Every hospital patient has the right to ask medical providers for identification, and to request that only certified physicians (not interns or med students) be involved in their care.

Patients also have the right to protect themselves against infection by insisting that all hospital personnel practice proper hygiene techniques. Research suggests that the majority of medical providers do not wash their hands correctly, increasing the risk of patients developing infections.

Countless patients can benefit from visiting hospitals that are not compromised by nursing shortages or impacted ERs. Long ER waits and staffing issues are both linked to increased patient fatality rates. Similarly, the health and safety of hospital patients can be compromised when they are not attended to at their bedside promptly.

And perhaps the most serious mistake that every patient should be aware of involves medication errors. It’s incredibly important that hospital patients identify they are given the correct drug and dosage every time.

Source: Yahoo! Health, “Protect Yourself: Eight Common Mistakes Made by Hospital Staffs,” Cindy Kuzma, Oct. 7, 2013

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