Things Patients Should Know Before Going To Hospital Indicates Arkansas Injury Lawyer Michael Smith
Little Rock, AR (Law Firm Newswire) December 17, 2013 – Ninety-eight percent of the time hospitals hide medication errors from patients. Check medication doses before swallowing.
“If you’re in hospital and the nurse hands you a pill or two to take, you usually just swallow it. They know what you need and so you trust them to give you the right thing. Before you pop that pill, take a look at what you are taking and check the dose. You may have the wrong drug and/or the wrong dose. It happens and it happens way too often,” suggested Michael Smith, an Arkansas injury lawyer. In fact, a recent study released by Johns Hopkins discloses that 98 percent of the time hospitals hide medication errors from patients.
What would protect a patient from medication errors? It seems there is a movement that is touting scanning a patient’s barcode on their ID bracelet, handed to them on admission. If the barcode on the bracelet matches the barcode on the medication, things are good to go, but only after the computer says the scanned drug is the right one, has not expired and the patient is the right patient for that medication.
“While high-tech checks and balances are always a good thing, that does not rule out e-glitches. What does a patient do instead? Do their own check by asking the doctor what they are taking, why and how much. Write this down and every time someone hands you a pill, ask what it is and what it does. If the answer matches what you have written down, fine. If not, in the interests of your own safety, start asking more questions,” Smith suggested.
For patients who suspect they may be getting the wrong medication, they might have the option of asking to see the doctor’s notes on their chart. Some hospitals are okay with this, and some are not. If access to the notes is permitted, search for vague phrases such as risk management, incident report and so forth. These are typically phrases used to disguise a medical mistake or hospital error. “And don’t think that the only people that see your information are the doctor and nurses. It spreads like wildfire to everyone from specialists to e-health record providers and insurance companies to pharmacists. Good information to be aware of should you contemplate suing a doctor for medical negligence,” added Smith.
While it may be good information for use in court, the fact that it is so readily available is also bad, because a former employer or ex-spouse may use it against a patient in court. It is not too much of a stretch of the imagination either that with medical records readily available online that medical identity thieves could have a heyday with such sensitive details.
“Before you’re admitted, ask to see the hospital disclosure forms. Those tell you who gets to see your information. Read it carefully and see if there is a section relating to a patient’s right to be notified of a breach of a patient’s records – whether they are compromised in some form or other, such as being hacked or stolen,” suggested Smith. Find out which medical personnel are actual doctors, as opposed to residents-in-training. This is important when it comes to identifying who may be named parties in a lawsuit. It is also vital to know who said what when it comes to putting together a lawsuit.
A patient who suspects they may have been the victim of a medication error should consult with an experienced Arkansas injury lawyer to determine their legal rights and what to expect should they file a hospital error lawsuit.
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