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Tips for Reducing Risk During a Hospital Stay

HospitalA visit to the hospital can be a frightening idea, even for those who are not experiencing an emergency situation. If you have an inpatient or outpatient procedure scheduled in the near future, you may be concerned not only the about the tests and treatment you will be receiving but also about how things could go wrong. Despite their reliance on technology, hospitals are run by humans who are prone to making mistakes from time to time, which could include errors during surgery, confusion regarding administered drugs, or even transmitting infections during your stay. In fact, mistakes are so common, according to some studies, that as many as one in every four patients may be affected by some type of hospital mistake.

Do Your Homework

Before showing up the hospital for an outpatient procedure or inpatient admission, there a few things you can do to help protect yourself against preventable errors. One of the first and easiest steps you can take is to review the hospital’s ratings. There are many reliable resources for rating medical facilities which typically include considerations such as infection rates. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 5 percent of the nation’s hospital patients acquire an infection during their stay. This translates to roughly 2 million infected patients per year, with an estimated 100,000 infection-related deaths.

Talk With Your Doctor

You should also take the time to meet with your doctor and review your upcoming procedure. He or she can help you understand what to expect. Bring with you a list of any medications or dietary supplements you may be taking so that he or she can identify any potential harmful drug interactions. Leave a copy of your medication list with your doctor and take one with you to the hospital when you check in.

Advance Planning

It may also be worth your time and energy to appoint a health care proxy or a power of attorney. This person will have the legal authority to make health-related decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make them for yourself. A living will or advance medical directive can provide more detailed instructions regarding your wishes. These considerations are important because all medical procedures involve some risk, and even if your medical team does everything right, it is possible that you could become incapacitated due to unforeseen circumstances. As such, it is also a good idea to arrange for a friend or loved one to help you get to and from the hospital and supervise your recovery.

Hospital Errors

While conscientious preparation can help prevent most hospital mistakes, some may still happen. Not all errors, however, mean that you are entitled to collect compensation for hospital malpractice. A good faith mistake or oversight on the part of the hospital or staff is not likely to be considered negligence or malpractice. Care that is subpar or fails to meet the applicable standard of care, however, may offer grounds for pursuing a medical malpractice claim.

If you have suffered harm or serious side effects caused by medical negligence during a recent hospital stay, an experienced San Jose medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your options. Call (408) 289-1417 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today.

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My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.