While our firm exists to help you if you have been the victim of medical malpractice, our hope is you never need our services. So what can you do to avoid falling victim to a doctor or hospital's mistake?
- Clearly identify yourself, using your full name and your date of birth and state the reason you are there, such as “I am here for gallbladder surgery”
- Demand that they check your ID bracelet. Why? Because nurses, techs and doctors are supposed to confirm your identity in two ways–usually verbally and by the ID bracelet.
- Demand that they confirm in your chart what they are doing. That means they should be able to tell you exactly what procedure or test they are doing, before they do it.
- If you are having surgery, demand that the surgeon mark up your surgical site before you are anesthetized. Better yet. My advice? Do it yourself! If you are having surgery on your right knee, mark “NOT THIS KNEE!” on your left knee. Surgery on the wrong side is not uncommon. It happens so regularly that Medicaid/Medicare has declared that they will no longer pay for such mistakes.
- Be impolite. If you suspect that something is wrong, don’t simply assume that the nurse or doctor is right. Ask questions, demand answers.
- Your best defense against medical malpractice? Ask questions. Demand answers. Write down what is going on and what is said. If you get conflicting information or orders, demand an explanation. Nurses refer to people who do this as “scribblers.” But if you ask nurses and doctors what they do when their spouse, child, or parent is int he hospital and they will all tell you that they become “scribblers”. You’d much rather be known as a scribbler than need the services of an attorney.
But … if you do, please call or contact me.Todd N. Hendrickson, P.C.