Tips for patients to guard against medical mistakes

St. Louis is home to some of the best doctors and medical professionals in the country. But with new cases of medical negligence and malpractice reported every day, it is not surprising that you are not too thrilled about going to your doctor when you are ill and in need of treatment. 

Avoiding medical care when it is necessary because of your fear of medical mistakes can make your situation worse. Here are some ways you can help improve the quality of the care you receive and the accountability of the health care professionals who provide it. 

Get a second and third opinion 

If your doctor informs you that you need an invasive medical procedure to improve your health, do not accept their recommendation as the final verdict. Instead, contact a few other qualified doctors in the field to give you additional opinions. You may trust your doctor with your life, but you need to remember that even the best and most trusted health care professionals can make mistakes. 

Question all of your care providers 

No matter how minor or severe your medical situation seems, you should always ask questions when you do not understand what your doctor is saying and recommending. You should also question all health care professionals that you come in contact with about any diagnostic tests and procedures they plan to perform. What may sound normal and easy to understand to your doctor may not be simple and easy to understand for you. You should never feel ashamed to ask for further clarification about a diagnosis, prescription or some other medical concern you may have.

Medicine is not an exact science, and medical professionals are not infallible. A mistake could happen at any point during your care. But by taking an active approach to medical treatment, you may be able to reduce the chances of you becoming a victim of medical malpractice. If you or a loved one is dealing with the aftermath of negligence on the part of a health care provider, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.