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Patients must manage health care to reduce medical errors

Admission to any hospital in Arizona exposes patients to the risk of infection. People should avoid hospitalization whenever feasible because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that hospital-acquired infections strike one in 25 patients every day. Medical errors like post-surgical infections and medication mistakes contribute to the approximately 250,000 deaths attributed to medical mistakes every year.

Medical safety experts recommend that people take proactive steps to prevent errors. This advice extends to family and friends, who should attend a hospitalized person in around-the-clock shifts to ensure continual monitoring of the care being provided. Everyone should wash their hands regularly and be willing to remind staff to use hand sanitizing foam. Patients should also ask questions during discharge and obtain written aftercare instructions to avoid missing important information.

Because medication represents a perennial source of errors, patients should not talk to nursing staff during the dispensing of drugs. Before taking a pill, people should ask what it is and make sure that it is the correct medication for them.

Vigilance on the part of patients and family members could reduce the chance of errors committed by medical staff who are often under pressure to multitask and discharge patients quickly. When doctor errors lead to harm, however, a patient might want to investigate the potential of a medical malpractice claim. An attorney could consult one or more independent medical experts to determine if the evidence meets the legal standards for malpractice. If so, the attorney might find it advisable to file a lawsuit and then open up settlement talks with the insurer for the practitioner or facility.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map