How to Limit Your Risk of Medical Malpractice

January 11, 2013
How to Limit Your Risk of Medical Malpractice

Every year medical malpractice affects thousands of patients causing severe medical problems, millions in additional medical costs, emotional trauma, loss of quality of life, and even death. Given these traumatic emotional and financial consequences, it is important now more than ever to learn what steps you can take to be as proactive as possible when it comes to your personal medical care and that of your family.

It is hard to know if a medical mistake has occurred in the first place. Cases, where medical errors and malpractice are believed to have occurred, are some of the most challenging cases to prove and require a skilled lawyer to investigate the facts to see if you have a valid claim against a hospital, pharmacist, doctor, or other health care provider.

Medical Malpractice covers many types of accidents.  All involve a patient becoming injured or dying due to a lack of the standard of care that they are entitled to receive. We are all human and mistakes happen, more than you can imagine in the medical field. Medical malpractice occurs when a physician, healthcare provider or medical personnel takes a step away from the accepted standard of patient care.

Below are some common types of medical errors and medical mistakes that could cause serious injury and even death.

Improper Medication and Dosage

Improper medication and dosage rank as one of the top medical errors that occur in the United States.

Sometimes when a patient receives the wrong medication it is the result of the pharmacist, other times a doctor’s handwriting may be illegible and cause dosage confusion. Also when two or more medications are prescribed and not checked to see if they have dangerous interactions, severe complications, and even death may occur.  It is important when you have been prescribed medication:

1. Always verify the name and dosage with your doctor while he is in the room

2. Never take any pills you receive from the pharmacy if the name looks off without first consulting with your doctor

3. Always be sure to tell your doctor of all current medications you are taking to avoid potentially serious complications

4. Ask questions and even take notes

The more you know about what prescriptions you are taking the safer you will be.

Incorrect Site Surgery and Improper Surgery Procedure

Incorrect site surgery is an all too common medical error.  Occasionally doctors operate on the wrong body part or even the wrong patient altogether. This can occur because of a rushed doctor, an incorrect chart, or even something as simple as a hospital room mix-up.  If you are in the hospital awaiting surgery:

Always make sure that your nurse knows what your situation is and what procedure you are getting done. Try to speak with as many staff members as possible. Make sure people know why you are there, and what procedures you are expecting. Have loved ones near you who can advocate for you if you are not able to do so for yourself. They can speak with your doctor and nurses to make sure that there is no confusion regarding your care.


Misdiagnosis is another very common medical error that may be harder to catch early. One recent study conducted claimed that doctors may misdiagnose fatal illnesses in 20% of cases. To help prevent misdiagnosis, especially if you are visiting a new doctor, try to get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. This can sometimes be the difference between a proper diagnosis and serious medical complications and health issues down the road. You can never be too informed regarding your own medical care. Always ask questions when speaking to your doctor, and make sure to inform him of all of your symptoms, no matter how trivial you believe they may be. When a doctor is more informed, he will be able to make a better diagnosis.

Cancer misdiagnosis is one of the most common misdiagnosed conditions, so being proactive and asking questions now, will hopefully prevent a catastrophic diagnosis later.

Be Informed

Research the qualifications and credentials of the doctors you select. Some doctors are highly regarded in their fields, while others may just be starting out and without a solid history. This is especially important regarding specialists and doctors who only work with particular types of cases. You can never be too informed.

This is a guest blog post from our attorney friends at Meyerson and O’Neill

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident that was not your fault or you feel you may have a medical malpractice related claim call Graves McLain, the Tulsa Personal Injury Law Firm for a free confidential consultation at 918-359-6600. An experienced attorney will review your situation at no cost to you. We represent victims and their families in serious injury and death cases arising from medical mistakes, vehicle collisions, and other accidents.

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