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How you can keep yourself safer when you head to the doctor

Being proactive about your health is key to a healthy life, but there are risks when you involve any medical professionals in your health care. Mistakes can be made, and they can influence your physical and emotional state of well-being. When you're injured, you have the opportunity to seek a medical malpractice claim, but these tips might help you avoid injury to begin with.

What should you look for to prevent medical errors or neglect?

One of the first problems with the medical system is that patients often think that hearing nothing about test results is a good thing. In fact, a doctor may have just forgotten to call or test results may never have arrived. Patients should follow up and talk about the results.

How common are medical errors?

Medical errors rank around third for the leading causes of death in the United States. It's been estimated that over 250,000 people die from medical errors in the United States every year. The mistakes themselves range from simple things like misdiagnosing an infection as a cold to leaving surgical devices inside an unsuspecting patient.

What can you do to reduce your risk of injury?

There are a few common medical errors and events to look out for. First, if you're having surgery or are being treated, make sure the doctor or nurse uses sterile gloves and equipment. Watch them put new gloves on or use new needles to make sure the process is as clean as possible.

If you have medications, make sure they not only look right but have the right name and dosage.

If you're going into surgery, ask which side it's for. Mark the side, then double-check again. This helps you be certain the team knows where to operate.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Observers offer tips on how to survive your doctor or hospital," John Petrick, The Record, Aug. 28, 2016

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