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Ways in which you can avoid falling victim to medical malpractice

A lot of us think of hospitals as a place we go to receive treatment from competent professionals in order feel better. Few of us expect to go there only for our health to decline, resulting in pain and suffering, as well as permanent injury or death.

According to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, around 440,000 Americans on average die each year as a result of having either contracted an infection or fallen victim to a doctor or surgical error while staying at the hospital. It shouldn't come as a surprise that medical malpractice ranks third among the top causes of death in this country.

The former head of patient safety and quality at Johns Hopkins Medicine notes that patients can do a few different things to decrease their risk of dying during their next visit to the hospital.

He notes that the most important actions a patient can take are to bring a trusted friend or family member with them to their visits to serve as their second set of ears and advocate. He also points out that it's critical to take extensive notes and to ask as many questions as necessary.

Other important factors that may play a role in saving your life include seeking out a second opinion if your doctor seems to lack confidence in his or her diagnosis or provides you with a particularly grave diagnosis. This should be done even if it requires you to drive an extra distance to a better medical facility or a specialist.

If you're asked to undergo certain tests or are instructed to take certain medications, you should always ask about potential alternatives to doing so.

You should also ask when you should expect test results and how taking the medication should make you feel. You may also want to discuss with your doctor what the next steps are once your test results come back. If you're prescribed a medication, then you may also want to ask what adverse reactions to it you should be on the lookout for.

Whether you're simply visiting the doctor for a routine visit or you're in the hospital receiving more advanced care, asking these questions can give you a better fighting chance than not doing so. If your health has declined at the hands of a negligent health care provider, then a Los Lunas medical malpractice attorney can provide guidance in your legal matter.

Source: Reader's Digest, "34 ways to survive your next trip to the hospital," Michelle Crouch, April 20, 2018

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