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Avoiding communication issues and medical errors

Medical errors take many lives annually. Experts do disagree at times on exactly how many people pass away, but some studies have said it is at least 5,000 people every year. Other studies have indicated that it may be more like 250,000 people per year.

One thing that they agree on, though, is that one of the biggest problems that the medical community faces is a lack of communication. Or, at least, they have problems with miscommunication and similar errors that lead to very real mistakes. Some of these mistakes can cost lives.

For instance, if doctors do not communicate properly about what medication has already been given to a patient, that patient could get two doses or could get medications that conflict with one another. It's a simple mistake made by a doctor who means well and is only trying to help, but it could make the person very sick or even kill them.

Here are three ways to avoid some medical mistakes:

  • When you go to the doctor, try to bring a close friend or a family member with you.
  • Always carry an updated list that notes any major health problems.
  • If working with specialists, it is best to have one person coordinating everything. Generally, this person should be your primary care doctor.

Yes, these tips can help, but they absolutely will not eliminate all medical errors. You still face some serious risks, as the daunting fatality statistics show all too well. Make sure you understand all of the legal options you have if you or a family member suffers after such an error.

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