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Patient attentiveness can reduce the risk of medical malpractice

Every day, hundreds of Iowa residents seek medical treatment from the hands of trusted health care professionals. However, just because a doctor appears to be reputable and professional, does not mean he or she cannot make mistakes.

When a patient takes the initiative to understand, control and contribute to his or her medical treatment, he or she can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of medical malpractice. According to Consumer Reports, there are several primary steps that a patient can take to guarantee understanding. These include the following:

  • List questions: In anticipation of a doctor’s appointment, patients should take the time to write down their questions and concerns about their health. They may also wish to include information about conditions they have experienced in the past, medications they are taking and complications they have heard about. Thorough research and prepared questions can help any patient gain a stronger understanding of why his or her treatment has been recommended.
  • Show interest: Patients who are assertive and not afraid to engage in a conversation are more effective at showing an interest in their health. As a result, their doctor may feel especially responsible for providing optimal care and more motivated to thoroughly diagnose and treat whatever their patients are dealing with.
  • Repetition: Once a patient has received a diagnosis or treatment plan, he or she can benefit greatly from repeating what has been heard from the doctor. Confirming an understanding can reduce the risk of improper treatment or confusion that could lead to worsened conditions.

What may be surprising to some is that research shared by The Washington Post indicates that medical malpractice is now the third leading cause of death in the United States. 

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