Would it shock you to find out that your doctor makes a mistake around one out of every 10 times he or she sees a patient? What if you found out that he or she actually made mistakes even more often?
Unfortunately, doctors are statistically likely to make a mistake 15 percent of the time. Medical errors account for around half a million deaths every year in this country — which means that patients are wise to look after their own interests when they’re at the doctor’s office.
Here are a few pieces of advice from the experts on how patients can best protect themselves from medical malpractice:
1. Realize that you are in charge of your health — not your doctor. You are the one who ultimately calls the shots.
2. Don’t hesitate to question a doctor’s diagnosis or decision-making process if you aren’t comfortable.
3. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in general about your health and your doctor’s recommendations, particularly if something doesn’t feel right to you. Your doctor has an obligation to answer your questions.
4. Ask your doctor the following questions every time you are confronted with either a new diagnosis or there’s a question in your mind about the validity of an old one:
- How sure are you that this is the right diagnosis?
- What else could be causing my symptoms?
- Is there anything that doesn’t fit this diagnosis?
5. Ask for a second opinion, especially if your condition could be serious.
6. Ask for tests that will confirm or refute the diagnosis.
7. Ask the doctor to clearly explain what changes you can expect to see once you begin treatment, what could be a cause for alarm and when you should contact him or her immediately.
8. Find out what your doctor’s emergency contact procedures are. Is there an on-call service? Does someone cover for your doctor at all times?
If your doctor isn’t willing to answer your questions or seems to think that you don’t have the right to a second opinion, it might be wisest to get a new doctor. After all, it’s your life at stake — not the doctor’s.
Source: Newsmax.com, “Avoiding Deadly Medical Mistakes: 8 Questions to Ask Your Doctor,” Lynn Allison, accessed May 03, 2018