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Talking to one's doctor about medical malpractice

Many people in New Jersey have likely heard of the importance of talking to their doctor about all sorts of concerns. One can even hear in prescription drug commercials that one should speak freely, openly and frequently with one's physician. Still, this is often easier said than done. Doctors often seem rushed, like they don't really know their patient, and maybe even as if they are not concerned.

While it may be tough to have a conversation with a doctor, it can be very important regarding the future health of the patient. This being said, doctors, nurses and other members of the team have critical responsibilities, as well as legal and professional obligations that patients do not have. Speaking with a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney can help clarify these roles and responsibilities for patients who have been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional.

For patients, it can be helpful to begin the doctor-patient relationship by being prepared with questions ahead of time and being ready to broach uncomfortable topics if need be. For example, if a patient notices someone is about to treat them without having washed their hands, the patient should take note and can also ask the individual if he or she washed their hands. It's also important for patients to ask questions when they do not fully understand what the doctor is telling them, or when they feel important information is not being fully explained. For instance, if a patient is being prescribed a new medication, they usually need to know why it is being prescribed, what the risks are, what happens if they do not take such a medication and so on.

While it may seem as if these are basic questions, their answers - or lack thereof - can make a big difference in the outcome of a patient's treatment. Questions regarding a doctor's past medical errors can be even more important. If a doctor has erred in the past and it has adversely affected a patient, this information can be critical. An experienced malpractice attorney can address past medical negligence, from medication errors to hospital-acquired infections and beyond.

Source: Hospital Safety Score, "Talking with your doctor about safety," accessed Aug. 21, 2016

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