When you go see your doctor, you expect that the care you receive will make you feel better. However, that does not always happen, especially when doctors or other medical staff are negligent.
If you are going to the doctor for a routine exam, surgery or any other procedure, consider the following tips to get the most out of your appointment and protect yourself against possible medical errors.
Doctor visits can be stressful, and knowing that a doctor is pressed for time or seeing someone you haven’t seen before can fluster patients.
Preparing for your visit is crucial. You can write down your questions, symptoms and special circumstances beforehand and bring them to your appointment to prevent oversights and keep you focused.
Patients may not understand everything a doctor says or what their diagnoses are. And too often, people feel embarrassed to ask for clarification, or they feel rushed and like there is not enough time to get more information.
However, asking questions is crucial in understanding your condition and care, even if you are in an urgent situation and need a medical procedure right away.
And in fact, you have a right to understand your diagnosis, treatment options, benefits and alternatives so you can make decisions with your healthcare provider. This is informed consent.
Get a second opinion
There is no rule that you can only see one doctor for injuries or illnesses. Physicians have different training, experiences and opinions that can mean they reach different conclusions than other might.
Thus, seeking a second opinion can be crucial for matters like a devastating diagnosis or aggressive treatment options.
Similarly, if you feel like your doctor has not listened to you or is not giving you accurate information, trust your gut and see another doctor.
Understand your limits
While these measures can help you be your best healthcare advocate, there are still situations out of your control. Patients generally have no control over things like hygienic practices at the facility that launders hospital bedding or the hours that hospitals require staff to work.
Thus, if a mistake does occur because of hospital negligence or individual recklessness, getting help to hold that party accountable will be crucial.