After medical malpractice in a D.C. hospital, here are some tips of what not to do.

1.     Don't blame yourself, your spouse or your family.  Medical malpractice, or preventable medical mistakes happen because hospitals, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals don't follow established patient safety rules.  Your spouse, your child and you cannot control those choices.

2.     Don't spend time on "what if".  It's natural to say "if I'd only taken my husband to a different hospital, things would be different."  Everyone says this whenever they are faced with a stressful situation.  It's a psychological defense mechanism but it won't help or change your loved one's condition.

3.     Don't get angry - at least not at first.  Anger may prevent you from making the best decisions about your loved one's current medical condition, medical care and treatment and other decisions you may need to make.  Don't let anger cloud your judgment.

Now, what should you do if you're put in an impossible, unthinkable crisis because a medical mistake caused a catastrophic injury to your loved one?

Remain calm - the patient you are responsible for needs you to make the best decisions for him right now.  He was already harmed by the medical system.

If the patient will be transferred to another hospital or rehab center for specialized treatment, get all of the medical records.  Don't wait - some people will change or "lose" a patient's medical chart after a big mistake causes a serious injury.  Not only are accurate records needed to document what happened and prevent it from happening in the future, they are needed for immediate medical care and treatment decisions.

Listen.  If the doctors or nurses explain what happened or what went wrong, take notes and ask questions - this may help you provide the best care and treatment decisions for your loved one during this time.

Here's a final tip - don't get some TV lawyer on the side of a bus.  If your family member was catastrophically injured and will never be the same, take the time to work with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice lawyer and who doesn't need to advertise.  The hospital administrators, insurance companies, judges and juries will know the difference.

Do everything you can to help your child or your spouse after a medical mistake.  Start by ordering some of our free publications or calling us at (202) 393 - 3320 for a confidential, no risk consultation.