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How patients can help prevent deadly hospital errors

Victims of medical errors are entitled by law to claim compensation for pain and suffering. Even though patients have a chance to be compensated for their injury, prevention of injury is always far better than a cure. Patients should actively participate in their treatment process to decrease the chances of medical malpractice. Here are some suggestions to help Marylanders ensure that treatment goes smoothly during a hospital stay.

Before admission to a hospital, check the hospital's safety score against other facilities in the area. This score can help a patient determine the preventive efforts and safety outcomes of the hospital. Once a good hospital is identified, the patient should make certain that the hospital is part of his or her health insurance network.

One of the most details to know is who is coordinating the care. A number of nurses, technicians and doctors may look after a case during a patient's hospital but it is important for the patient to have a specific person as the point of contact for questions or to address any doubts.

Patients should remind staff to wash their hands frequently to avoid transmission of infections. It is estimated that one in 25 hospital patients have acquired an infection while hospitalized. Hand washing is the simplest way to prevent transmission of diseases, such as pneumonia, stomach viruses, urinary tract infections and blood-stream infections.

A patient should not hesitate to ask questions if some point about his or her medical condition, treatment process and medication being explained by the doctor or hospital staff is not clear. If the answer involves medical jargon, request a simpler answer. Also, when admitted to a hospital, a patient should supply the medical staff with list of medications taken. Adverse drug events affect an estimated 5 percent of hospital patients.

These steps may help prevent the costly medical errors every patient dreads. However, if a patient or his or her loved ones become the victim of deadly medical errors, compensation for damages is more likely to be awarded if an expert attorney helps present the case.

Source: Fox News, "7 ways to prevent deadly and costly hospital errors," Elizabeth Renter, June 17, 2015

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