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Preventing hospital negligence: some useful tips

Residents of Camden, New Jersey, who have been victims of or who have witnessed examples of medical malpractice may like to know more about what they can do to prevent it. Generally, it is considered to be an act of medical negligence on the part of doctors and other health care professionals who provide treatment and service below the standard of practice in many communities. The accused may then have a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against him or her and may have to compensate the victim or the victim's family for the resulting damages.

To avoid the spread of any infection, health care workers in hospitals may be asked whether they have washed their hands before touching any patients. While being discharged from the hospital, a patient should ask his or her doctor about the treatment plan that is to be followed at home. This includes information about taking prescribed medicine and scheduling follow-up appointments. In case of surgery, the patient, doctor and surgeon should agree on the surgery process, so as to avoid any chance of operating on the wrong area of the body. It is also better for patients to use a hospital that has handled similar cases successfully.

Patients have the right to question any professional who is treating them. It may also be beneficial if their primary care doctor is involved and allowed to coordinate the treatment process. It is important for patients to inform their doctors about all of their health issues. Assuming that the doctor knows everything may not be wise. A patient should ideally be accompanied by a friend or a family member while consulting a doctor.

Being given too much information about a treatment process may not be very useful for the patient. It also is not safe to assume that if a test result is not received, there's nothing to be concerned or worried about. It may be a good idea for the patient to collect information about the health condition and treatment process in question from reliable sources and discuss it with his or her doctor. Where health matters are concerned, it is always better to be prepared and stay informed rather than worry.

Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors," December, 2014

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