There is no question that doctors should be expected to provide a standard of care that does not inflict any harm upon their patients. Despite this notion, all too often patients are injured to varying degrees. While there are various programs in place in hospitals throughout the nation that seek to reduce these incidents, there are things patients can do as well to try to prevent doctor errors from occurring.
The first is to be an active participant in your physical exam. Working together can make it easier for a diagnosis to be reached. Asking questions to ensure that you understand what is going on could help a doctor who might otherwise miss an important piece to the puzzle.
Just as asking questions is an important thing so too is explaining your own medical history. Here again a doctor may be more easily able to reach a diagnosis when he or she can benefit from hearing about things that might otherwise not be clear.
A diagnosis is not always straightforward and symptoms could point to more than one condition. Asking your doctor about the possible conditions and talking through each of them could help to bring things into focus.
If the doctor reaches a conclusion regarding a diagnosis that does not make sense to you, don’t assume that it is correct. It is okay to ask questions about the options that exist for treatment. If you feel that the diagnosis does not make sense, do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.
Even when a patient takes this course of action it is still possible that a physician could commit a medical error. When this does happen the injured individual should speak with a lawyer to determine whether a medical malpractice lawsuit is viable.