The problem of preventable medical errors in the US

A recent report revealed that patients are more likely to suffer from a preventable medical error when they are not treated with respect by medical professionals.

Think about the last time you went to the doctor or were admitted into the hospital. How did you feel about the experience after you left? Were you treated with respect by the medical professionals? Do you believe your concerns were addressed?

According to a recent study conducted by Consumer Reports, doctor's attitudes toward patients in the United States may actually increase the likelihood of a medical error taking place.

The report revealed that patients are more likely to escape a medical error if doctors treat them with respect - paying close attention to the patients' concerns and questions. Unfortunately, according to the report, one-quarter of medical care recipients indicated they were not treated as "adults able to be involved in their own care." In addition, about one-third of the respondents reported that medical professionals often interrupted them when they were talking and failed to follow through with their requests relating to their treatment.

In all, the patients who reported that they rarely were treated with respect by medical professionals were 2.5 times more likely to suffer from a preventable medical error than the individuals who reported that they were typically treated respectfully.

As preventable medical errors currently account for the third leading cause of death in the United States, the Consumer Reports study should make medical professionals reconsider their approach to patients.

Be proactive about your medical care

Meanwhile, if you are in the care of a medical professional, you can take some steps to protect yourself from suffering from a preventable medical error. According to the study by Consumer Reports, it is a good idea to bring an advocate with you, such as a family member or friend. The report revealed that individuals who had someone with them were 15 percent more likely to report that they were treated respectfully.

It is also a good idea to be mindful of the times when medical errors are most likely to occur, namely during shift changes or when you are being moved within the hospital. During those occasions, you might want to consider having an advocate with you.

When medical professionals are talking to you, it can be overwhelming. Writing down the information they are providing - or asking your advocate to write for you - will help you process the information. In addition, you can keep a running list of any questions you may have about your medical care, to ensure you do not forget to ask anything when a doctor or nurse is in the room.

Talk to a medical malpractice attorney

If you believe you did not receive the proper standard of care when you were hospitalized or treated by a physician, you should take action to protect your interests. The expenses associated with a medical error are often staggering, leaving many wondering how they will continue to make ends meet.

If you have suffered from a medical error, you should consider seeking the counsel of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. A legal professional will work on your behalf to obtain the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Keywords: medical error, medical malpractice