Joseph Taraska Discusses the Steps Patients Can Take to Prevent Being a Victim of Medical Errors

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Joseph Taraska an Orlando Florida Attorney

Joseph Taraska is an Orlando, Florida Attorney who assists clients in medical malpractice lawsuits. In the following article, Joseph Taraska discusses how most individuals aren’t aware of the various steps they can take to protect themselves from medical errors caused by healthcare professionals.

Medical errors are unintended acts, caused by an error in planning or execution that brings about a result that was likely not anticipated. Misdiagnoses, infections transmitted from hospitals, too-early discharges, and medication mistakes are the four common medical errors seen across the country.

According to the British Medical Journal, medical errors are the third most common cause of death in the United States of America. And while it’s increasingly difficult to stay on top of personal health, Joseph Taraska, an Orlando, Florida Attorney, states that individuals should work to understand how they can protect themselves from potentially life-threatening medical errors. After all, no one wants to be a part of that statistic.

General Steps People Can Take to Protect Against Medical Errors

Orlando, Florida Attorney Joseph Taraska says that one of the most essential things people should do is actively participate and be attentive to their healthcare. Medical decisions typically require inputs and thought processes from a variety of sources, including the patient.

Unfortunately, patients tend to take a back seat stance on their own healthcare when they really should be heavily involved in the process — especially since research shows that patients involved in their own healthcare receive better results.

Aside from becoming your own healthcare advocate, patients should employ the following expert recommendations from Joseph Taraska in all medical situations:

  • Patients must know and share their information with providers, including their full medical history, for proper care.
  • It’s wise to keep an up-to-date list of all medications such as prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Healthcare practitioners must understand the medications their patients take to provide optimal care and ensure new prescriptions don’t interfere with their current regimen.
  • Allergies and intolerances must be made common knowledge among the healthcare team. That way, practioners can make sure zero deadly drug interactions occur.
  • Patients should get into the habit of double-checking their prescription labels to ensure the information is correct. Asking questions isn’t frowned upon. In fact, experts encourage those who are unsure about side effects to ask questions of their pharmacist, such as when to take the medication, or any other important details when they pick up their prescription.
  • Liquid medications require proper dosage measurement. Unbeknownst to popular belief, a tablespoon medication dose isn’t the same as a household tablespoon measurement. So, patients should ask the pharmacist for correct measuring procedures. Pharmacists can provide the proper dosing apparatus free of charge for the medication.
  • Prior to your visit with your provider write down the questions you wish to ask and take the list with you. Once in the medical environment it is easy to forget matters you wanted to discuss.
  • If the visit is not too personal, take someone with you to act as another set of eyes and ears. Without meaning to—a visit to the doctor’s office can be intimidating. If you have a trusted friend with you, they are likely to have a better recollection of what was said.

Preventing Hospital Errors

Joseph Taraska, an Orlando, Florida Attorney says that while these general steps will certainly help patients in all aspects of healthcare, hospital-related suggestions provide more specific guidelines for those undergoing surgery.

Experts note that there’s a reason for the saying “practice makes perfect.” All hospitals weren’t created equally — some specialize in particular surgeries or procedures. So, patients who have the option to choose their own hospital should do so with care. Joseph Taraska says that choosing one well-versed in the specific surgery they require gives them the best chance of a positive outcome.

Patients shouldn’t be afraid to tell people (including visitors) to wash or sanitize their hands. Hospital staff usually don gloves before entering rooms, but visitors aren’t usually inclined to do so.

Before surgery, patients should ensure that all surgeons, doctors, and practitioners involved are on the same page. Joseph Taraska, an Orlando, Florida Attorney explains that, depending on the type of procedure, many surgical groups require surgeons to sign their initials on the patient’s surgical site beforehand, to negate the risk of wrong-side surgery.

Upon discharge from the hospital, patients (or their less-overwhelmed counterparts) should ensure they have clear aftercare instructions. This includes understanding recuperation process, expected recovery time, medications, and proper handling of wound care procedures.

In addition to receiving the aftercare instructions, ask for a copy of the test results including radiology reports and lab reports. Be sure to take these to your follow-up physician and ask that he request and review a copy of the hospital “discharge note” for his file.

Joseph Taraska an Orlando Florida AttorneyUnderstanding Test and Procedure Safety

Many experts note the ease with which most patients agree to procedures, treatments, and tests. Naturally, they expect the opinions of a doctor to be fact.

However, Orlando, Florida Attorney Joseph Taraska says to remember that doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare practitioners are only human. They make mistakes just like anyone else, so patients must understand that they have the right to request a second opinion and even question their current doctor on the necessity of any test or treatment.

Additionally, patients should ask whether the treatment is based on the newest evidence and request to see trials or studies proving effectiveness.

And if they do have a test, they must remember to follow up. Sadly, no news doesn’t necessarily mean good news.

Too often a provider may not receive a copy of a test result or worse receive it but its overlooked and filed away in the office. This may cause serious delays in follow up care. As noted above if it’s a hospital stay, or outpatient test, obtain a copy of the result yourself and provide it to your primary care physician. Many hospitals and doctors’ offices now have electronic portals that you can sign into to review your visit. Make a habit of reviewing what was written to ensure it was correct and follow up care is ordered timely.

Final Thoughts

Above all, Joseph Taraska, an Orlando, Florida Attorney says that by working together as your own healthcare advocate, and by providing doctors with your full, detailed medical history, you can contribute to protecting yourself from life-altering medical errors.

If you or someone you love happens to be the victim of a medical malpractice error, contact an attorney that specializes in these claims. Everyone should know their rights and have the opportunity to recover from damages that result from negligent healthcare providers.