A Surprising Way to Avoid Medical Errors

Published on October 9th, 2015

Consumer Reports surveyed 1,200 recently hospitalized patients earlier this year and found a compelling link between respectful treatment and patient safety. Patients from the survey who said they rarely got respect from hospital staff were two-and-a-half times as likely to experience a medical error—such as acquiring an infection during their stay at the hospital, a wrong diagnosis, an adverse drug reaction, or a prescribing mistake.

The Consumer Reports survey measured perceptions of respect, such as the way hospital staff communicated and whether they approached patients with compassion, honored patients’ wishes, and acknowledged their own mistakes. One in four of the patients surveyed said that medical personnel seldom treated them as adults able to be involved in their own care or “like a person,” and one third found that nurses or doctors didn’t even always listen to them without interrupting. Some 34 percent of patients felt their preferences about treatment were not always honored while 21 percent thought they were not always treated fairly and without discrimination. Pushing to ask questions can be essential in minimizing risk for patients—those surveyed who were uncomfortable asking such questions about their care were 50 percent more likely to experience at least one medical error.

Patients who make an effort to be actively involved in their health and health care will see better health outcomes and, as a result, lower health costs. As a patient, you should focus not only on the way your condition will be treated, but also the way you want to be treated by doctors and nurses in the hospital you choose. Though the average patient may not have gone to medical school, no one knows your body better than you, so be vocal and ask questions when you want answers.

If you believe you or a loved one have suffered injuries or a wrongful death as a result of a doctor or nurses negligence, please call Gerald Thurswell of Thurswell Law at (866) 354-5544. We will get your medical records and investigate this case at no charge to you. If and only if we believe malpractice is committed and we are successful, you pay a fee only if we collect money for you.

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