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Medical mistakes cause injuries and take lives. No patient wants to find out that he or she has been a victim of a medical mistake, but if you have, then you know that it has to be addressed.
Medical mistakes range from operating on the wrong patient to prescribing the wrong medications. While not all mistakes hurt people, some do and cause significant anxiety, distress and heartbreak.
So, why are there so many medical mistakes taking place? There are dozens of reasons for errors to occur, but a few common reasons are failing to identify the patient correctly, poor record keeping and miscommunication. For example, if two patients with similar names are mixed up before surgery, one could end up with an appendectomy when she was supposed to get a hysterectomy, while the person seeking an appendectomy ends up with a hysterectomy. Another example could be if patient records go missing or get filed incorrectly. That important information would be missed by providers, potentially putting a patient at risk.
Of course, miscommunication is a common error. An example of this is writing down the patient’s prescription in a manner that’s hard to read. A pharmacist might fill the wrong medication, which is a danger to the patient.
What can you do to prevent medical mistakes?
The first step is to become your own advocate. Make sure you’re asking the questions you have directly. Don’t be afraid to ask a nurse or doctor about something, like your medications, if you feel they aren’t right. Don’t let minor mistakes go unnoticed. Even things like misspelling your name can make a difference in patient records, so correct those mistakes as soon as you see them.
If you are going into surgery, make sure your medical bracelet states any allergies you have along with the correct birth date and name. If something isn’t accurate, go ahead and correct the nurse or doctor who gives it to you. It’s better to speak up than to receive a dose of a medication your body can’t handle or to be treated under another patient’s name.
Another way you can help prevent errors is to stay informed. Bring someone else with you to appointments, so you have a witness to what the doctor tells you as well as someone who can remind you of post-surgical procedures or other treatment requirements.
Most medical mistakes are completely preventable. Taking the time to speak up and reach out for assistance can make a difference. Your attorney can help you file a claim if you’re hurt by a negligent medical provider.
Source: Nov. 30, -0001
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Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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