A 2016 study by Johns Hopkins Hospital revealed that approximately 25,000 deaths result from medical error each year, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent malpractice once your procedure or surgery has begun. However, there are several precautionary steps you can take to reduce the risk of medical malpractice affecting you and your family.
Unless you are in an emergency situation, you will most likely have the opportunity to pick the medical professional that will perform your procedure, or you will be recommended a surgeon. Either way, one of the best ways to prevent medical malpractice on your end is to do research on the surgeon or doctor that will be performing the procedure beforehand. Look up your surgeon on the internet. See if you can find anything about their background or education. Chances are there will be reviews available from other patients too. You may also seek out recommendations if you are not provided any from your general physician.
Another precautionary step you can take to prevent malpractice is to simply be honest with the medical professionals in charge of your care. Make sure to communicate all medical history, symptoms, or any other information they need to know to accurately evaluate and treat your condition. It is better to over share than to under share when it comes to your health. Forgetting to mention a crucial part of your medical history or not sharing something because you think it’s not important could potentially lead to fatal results in your treatment.
Asking questions goes hand-in-hand with being honest with your doctor. If you have any questions during the treatment process or about your upcoming treatment, ask them. Don’t be embarrassed. You are not expected to understand all of the medical jargon and it is a medical professional’s duty to make sure their patients are fully informed. If they do not know the answer, they should be able to find someone that does or get back to you after further discussion amongst the team of doctors taking care of you. Not being able to answer questions or avoiding questions is definitely a red flag.