What can I do to protect myself from medical malpractice injuries?

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Medical malpractice happens when a doctor, HMO, nurse, healthcare provider makes a conscious choice that puts your safety at risk: this could be anything from failing to follow a checklist or neglecting to follow up on a test result. It could be a computer entry error with no back-up system to catch mistakes. It could be a resident who doesn’t call an attending physician when there is a complication he can’t handle. It could be a system where specialists are not called in to timely evaluate conditions that are outside of a hospitalist’s expertise. So how do you prevent that from happening?

Be an advocate for yourself (if you’re able to) and get an advocate who know what’s going on at all times.

This can be a spouse, sibling, or a trusted friend.  They don’t need a medical background (but that would help). You need someone with common sense who can ask: Why are you being treated? What drugs are being prescribed to you? What amount of that drug are you getting? Is the doctor paying attention to you? Are you getting referrals or consults with specialists?

In other words, someone who will speak up for the patient and isn’t afraid to question the doctors, nurses and staff.

We’ve all been conditioned to think the doctor is always right, because most of the time he or she is. But modern medicine is different – sometimes hospitals, HMO,s and healthcare corporations put don’t have procedures that help avoid or catch medical mistakes. And they are supposed to - it's called Patient Safety Rules.

If you suspect that your injury or your loved one’s injury was caused by the negligence of  a doctor, HMO, hospital, or nurse, learn more by ordering your free copy of one of our informative Consumer Guides (Please list these and link them) or call us at (202) 393-3320  and we’ll send you the information you need to make informed decisions – for free, with no obligation (while supplies last).

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer