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How can I protect myself from medical errors?

One common reason why you may avoid seeking out medical care in Iowa is the number of medical negligence and malpractice cases you keep hearing about. According to, the “third leading cause of death in the country is medical error.” As prevalent as these situations are becoming, you should not let them deter you from doing what is necessary to improve and maintain your health. Doctors and health care professionals work in a variety of medical settings and see many patients each day. Many of these professionals are tired and overworked which can lead to a breakdown in communication that often results in medical errors. 

Here is a brief overview of how you can protect yourself from medical errors. 

Document all medication and treatment 

Before going to any doctor, clinic and medical facility you should document all medications you are taking. Be sure to include the names and doses of any vitamins, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter medicines you take. You should also write down all medical procedures and treatments you have had. Double check the information to ensure there are no mistakes in spelling and dosage information. 

Keep track of allergies and adverse reactions 

Inform your health care providers of any allergies and reactions you have had to medications. It is important for them to know this information so they can avoid prescribing drugs that may cause similar or more severe reactions. 

Ask questions 

You should always question your doctors and medical professionals about any diagnoses, tests, treatments and prescriptions they recommend. You should question why, how and when. Do not forget to ask about any side effects, treatment alternatives and other doctors you can see for second opinions. 

The above suggestions are not the only ways you can protect yourself from medical errors. In addition to incorporating them into your medical care routine, you should research your caregivers and medical facilities. Taking the time to protect yourself from errors can also help ensure you are leaving your health and life in the hands of qualified professionals who adhere the utmost care standards and practices.

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