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Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
Sandy Grinnell, Staff Contributor
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Making Your Hospital Visit Safer

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Sometimes the first step to recovery is protecting yourself during your hospital visit. Medical and human error during standard daily care and medical procedures are very real dangers and patients sometimes must serve as their own advocate during their stay in the hospital. Many times, patients are faced with challenges and needs that the hospital staff is either not responding to, or simply not noticing, and find themselves too weak to gather up the energy to request assistance. The Institute of Medicine reported that hospitalized patients should expect at least one medical error a day. In any given year up to ninety thousand patients may die from medical errors. There are certain key steps that you should take before and during your stay in a hospital to ensure that you do not encounter these errors.

First, before your surgery or procedure, research the operation and the hospital’s history on performing such operations. Some hospitals perform certain operations more frequently than others, and patient outcomes are more favorable in hospitals that are more experienced in these procedures.

Second, never remain alone for your stay. Having a trusted friend or family member to watch over you and to keep track of what the doctors and nurses are doing may help in catching a possibly deadly mistake. Also, many patients in hospitals are too weak or unable to request certain services so having someone to help you request attention or care may ensure safety during your stay.

Next, always request that your doctor or nurse washes their hands before coming into contact with you or your belongings. Washing hands is critical for stopping the spread of diseases and infections, and asking your doctor or nurse to wash their hands will limit your contact with outside bacteria and viruses.

Finally, whenever you are administered medication or given any treatment, make sure it is noted on your chart and your caregiver checks your hospital wristband and medical records to double check on the safety of the treatment. Patient mix ups in hospitals are more common than one would imagine.

Although hospitals should be a place of healing and treatment, mistakes do occur. Human error is a problem that every industry faces, and when you are dealing with human lives, taking every possible precaution is vital for the health and safety of not only yourself, but those you love. If anyone you know has been hurt or injured due to hospital error, please seek representation immediately. Be in control of your own health.