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Have A Safe Journey

January 14, 2020 Ellen Christie

Planning a trip includes trying to ensure a fun and safe journey. While some risks are inherent, many of us take precautions to be savvy, safe travelers. We check safety records, compare prices, ask friends for recommendations, allow extra time, and inquire about food options, all to help ensure our comfort and safety. Unfortunately, it is dangerous to spend more time planning a trip, deciding on a restaurant, or making a purchase, than on planning your “health care journey.” It is a dangerous misconception that medical settings are always safe. Pegalis Law Group encourages you to be a more proactive patient, for a safer passage through all medical care “journeys.” 

One in three deaths in the U.S. is due to medical errors. More than 250,000 people in the U.S. die each year because of avoidable medical negligence. Entering hospitals, labs, or doctors’ offices are life “journeys.”  Those journeys also need planning and research for safety. Based on our years advocating for injured clients, you can avoid some dangerous medical errors. Consider being a more proactive patient:

  • Before you visit your doctor, create lists to give them of:
    symptoms you’ve experienced, how they changed
    outline of all your medications, dosages and nutritional supplements
    specialists you are seeing with their contact information
  • If you have serious health conditions, hearing or language challenges, or feel hesitant asking questions, have someone you trust at your doctor’s visit or hospital stays to help you ask questions, listen to answers, and speak up when needed.
  • Don’t hesitant to visit a different doctor for a second or third opinion. Do not discuss what each doctor said, until you have independent opinions about the initial diagnosis and each treatment suggestion.
  • In the hospital, you’ll encounter many staff members. Be aware that few have access to your records or are qualified to advise you!   Ask to speak to your attending physician or the hospitalist so you can review the plan for your treatment and ask questions. 
  • In a doctors’ office, in the hospital, or when you get home be sure to ask questions about your diagnosis, treatment options, possible side effects of drugs and drug interactions.  Pharmacists can be a good resource for drug information and side effects, as is your health insurance after-hours nurse’s hotline. Do not assume: inform all medical professionals of medications you are currently taking or were recently given.
  • Before choosing a doctor, consider reviewing government websites to gain information. In New York, www.nydoctorprofile.com is maintained by New York State Dept. of Health. It offers many tabs to click on for information about doctors’ medical training and backgrounds.  **Note: website searches can yield reviews of doctors that are not objective. They can be ads that are well-disguised as reviews, positive feedback, or reviews gained by encou

If you have legal questions about medical care you received, contact Pegalis Law Group for a prompt no-fee consultation at 516- 684-2900