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What can Maryland patients do to prevent doctor errors?

Medical mistakes have become a serious concern for Maryland patients, as well as patients across the United States. Every year, thousands of patients either suffer injuries, contract illness and infections or even lose their lives due to medical mistakes. Many of these cases are attributed to a doctor's errors. Maryland patients can do their part in making sure that they do not fall victim to medical errors by following some safety precautions.

Patients should inform their physician of all medications and even vitamin and herbal supplements they are taking. Patients can also "brown bag," by bringing a sample of the medicines so a physician can check if there are problems. This is also a good way to keep medical records up to date. When a doctor prescribes medication, patients should not be afraid to ask questions. What is the medicine specifically for and does it have side effects?

Patients need to be more assertive when it comes to hospital stays and surgery. They should politely ask healthcare workers who touch them if they washed their hands properly. Infections and other illnesses spread by improperly washed hands. Maryland patients should also ask their doctor the specific treatment plan that they will undergo before, during and after their hospital stay. Patients should make sure that the doctor, surgeon and others involved in surgery agree on the procedures and every process is explained clearly. Patients can also seek a doctor or hospital that specializes in a particular surgical procedure. Relatives or friends should accompany a patient to surgery and doctor appointments as well.

Despite their best efforts, Maryland patients still become victims of medical errors. When such a situation happens, patients have the option to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a doctor who they suspect was negligent.

Source: Ahrq.gov, "20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors," accessed on Sept. 24, 2014

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