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What you need to do in the Hospital

Have an advocate -- a friend or relative -- with you as much as possible in the hospital. When checking in, be sure the advocate has legal permission to know details about your treatment.

- Your advocate should ask questions on your behalf and not be intimidated by hospital staff.

- You should select a hospital where your procedure is done often.

- Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies, pre-existing conditions or adverse reactions to medications.

- Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take.

- Each time a nurse brings you medication, ask the following: What is the medicine for? Who prescribed it? When am I supposed to take it? How am I supposed to take it? What are side effects? Is it safe to take with other medications?

- Personnel should check each patient's wristband before drawing blood or giving medication.

- It's critical to avoid infection. Don't let anyone give you anything that's dirty or has fallen on the floor. Ask people entering your room to wash their hands.

- Avoid wrong-site surgery. Surgeons should sign their initials prior to surgery on the body part being operated on; your advocate should ensure that the surgeon has indicated the correct site.

- Don't leave the hospital until you and your advocate fully understand all post-treatment instructions, including what medication to take, proper dosages, when to schedule follow-up appointments and when you can return to normal activities.


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5 Things to Know

  1. What you need to know in the Hospital
  2. 15 Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Risk of a Hospital Infection
  3. Selecting Doctors & Hospitals
  4. What to do to avoid medication error
  5. AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

You've Suffered Medical Harm - Now What Do You Do?

According to a recent article published by ProPublica titled: So You’ve Become a Patient Safety Statistic – Now What?, by Marshall Allen there are six things to do….

  1. Get a copy of medical records.
  2. Make sure the incident is reported internally.
  3. If the patient has died, order a forensic autopsy.
  4. Consider calling an attorney.
  5. Meet with the doctor and hospital officials.
  6. Report the incident to regulators, who can investigate.

For greater detail and more important information, please read the full article.