If you’ve been hurt by a medical error in the past, you probably
are wary about going to the doctor now. When you’re a patient, you
need to make sure you can keep yourself safe. Instead of waiting for a
medical error to happen, there are some things you can do to prevent them
from happening or to identify when they may occur.
With medications, make sure you can read any prescription your doctor writes.
If you can’t, there’s a chance the pharmacist can’t either.
When you speak to your doctor, it’s a good choice to remind him or
her of your allergies and the reactions you’ve had to medications
in the past. Sometimes, doctors won’t see this information in the
notes or may make a mistake and issue the wrong prescription, so make
sure they’re reminded.
When you have questions about a medication, don’t be scared to ask.
Ask the pharmacy to double check that you have the right prescription
and that it doesn’t conflict with medications you already take.
Make sure you know how to measure your medications and what to do if you
have a reaction.
When you stay at a hospital, you can stay safer by making sure your doctor
talks to you directly about your discharge plans and the treatments you’ll
need to use at home. If you have to stay in the hospital, make sure anyone
who is going to touch you or give you medications has washed his or her
hands. Bacteria and viruses are common in hospitals, so this simple step
can help prevent infection and the transfer of disease.