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Suggestions to help Roanoke residents prevent medical errors

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Roanoke, Virginia, patients undergoing treatment with a doctor or at a hospital hope that these medical providers will follow the required standard of care and address their patients' health issues in a professional way. However, medical malpractice cases are not uncommon in Virginia.

In fact, a patient can fall victim to medical errors anywhere in the healthcare system. Errors can happen in a hospital, patient's house or doctor's clinic. They can happen during routine medical procedures. Medical errors can take any form-surgical error, misdiagnosis, wrong dose of medication or the wrong medication, birth injury, nursing home neglect and so on.

According to data, one in seven Medicare patients suffers a medical error or becomes a victim of medical malpractice. Although many errors are caused by complex healthcare procedures, some medical errors can also be caused by miscommunication between a doctor and patient. Following certain tips can help a patient avoid medical malpractice.

The best way for a patient to ensure safer medical care is to get involved with the healthcare team, so the patient knows exactly how their health is progressing. Research shows that if a patient is involved with every decision regarding their health, the chances of getting better results increase.

Other tips include letting the doctor know all medicines that the patient is taking, informing the doctor about allergies and any other adverse reactions to medication and making sure that the right medicines have been prescribed. It is also a good idea to ask the doctor any questions about medication or treatment.

Also, ask hospital health care workers to wash their hands before contact because dirty hands can transmit germs that cause infections. A surgical patient should know the exact procedure being performed and confirm with medical staff and surgeon before the procedure begins. Finally, at the time of discharge from the hospital, ask the doctor and medical staff about a home treatment plan to help identify problems associated with medical errors.

Source:, "20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors," Accessed on Jan. 30, 2015

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