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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.