Avoiding Medical Error Amid COVID-19
We’re living in a time plagued with uncertainty and adaptation. The way we work, communicate, and stay in touch with loved ones is shifting dramatically. Medical professionals are working overtime, risking contact with people infected with the coronavirus in order to help keep people healthy and alive.
For those who must be hospitalized for reasons other than Covid-19, the risk of medical error is heightened by the stress and strain on medical providers. Even in ordinary times, medical error occurs with frightening regularity. During this pandemic, where a hospital is overstretched, medical error may occur more easily than in normal times.
By taking extra precautions, patients can help reduce the risk of suffering from medical errors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
One thing patients and patient advocates can do during a visit to the doctor’s office whether in-person or via telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic is to come prepared with questions.
- Could my symptoms be related to a different condition?
- What are the most dangerous conditions that could reasonably explain my symptoms — and that we need to rule out with diagnostic tests?
- Does my condition need urgent treatment? What are the risks of waiting for later diagnosis or treatment?
- Does the prescribed medication/treatment make sense for this condition?
- Could the prescribed medication/treatment interact with any current medications/treatments taken by the patient?
- What is the protocol for treatment once the patient leaves the doctor’s office?
- What sort of side effects should one expect?
- At what point should the patient contact a medical professional if things progress?
- Does everyone agree on the set treatment plan?
- If a surgery is involved, what are the risks? Other options?
Providing Key Information
Another thing patients and patient advocates can do during a medical visit is to tell the medical staff — nurses, physician assistants, and physicians — every detail that might be relevant that will help the doctors and nursing staff do their job effectively. Coming to an appointment prepared only makes things go smoother for all involved.
- List symptoms and start dates for each
- Sharing if anyone around the patient has been sick with similar symptoms/illness
- Come prepared with relevant medical documents and history, especially if the patient is new to this doctor
While the current landscape is a complex one to navigate, Bell Law Firm has the knowledge to help. Stay up to date with CDC guidelines and recommendations during this time. Additionally, reach out today if you or a loved one may have been harmed by medical malpractice.