A hospital trip has never been an easy, pleasant experience for anybody – but it could be a lot worse now. Medical workers are experiencing fatigue and burnout like never before, and that means that lots of mistakes can happen.
How can you minimize the chances that you’ll be a victim of one of those mistakes? If you have a chronic health condition that sometimes leads to a hospital trip, it’s time to make some plans.
Steps to take before (and during) your next hospital trip
Prevention is worth more than a cure, so you need to be proactive about your safety. With that in mind:
- Make a list. Include a list of medications to carry with you, including dosages, plus a list of your drug allergies and diagnosed conditions. A second list with the names and contacts of your regular medical providers, including specialists, can also be useful.
- Have a “go” bag ready. Put your list in your travel bag, along with any comfort items you need. Include a spare charging cord for your cellular phone so that you always have a way to recharge.
- Get a living will and a medical power of attorney ready. Things can happen fast in a hospital setting. Make sure that your wishes are known and that your medical power of attorney knows when to step in.
- Ask questions. Don’t passively accept testing or medication unless you know why something is being done.
- Call people out. Bacterial infections are a major problem in hospital settings, so if a medical provider tries to examine you without washing their hands, don’t hesitate to ask them to stop and clean up before they get any closer.
- Bring someone with you. Having someone with you (preferably the person who holds your power of attorney) can help you as you interact with the medical team and assert your rights as a patient.
None of this, unfortunately, will 100% guarantee that you won’t end up the victim of medical malpractice. If that happens, you have every reason to explore your legal options and obtain fair compensation for your injuries.