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How Not To Become a Statistic of Wrongful Death by Medical Error

Florida Medical Rights Association is an advocacy organization, whose bottom line goal is to improve patient safety in Florida hospitals. "The accountability levels are a problem in Florida" States Melody, Board Chair and co-founder of FMRA. "The bottom line is that Florida's Free Kill law increases medical errors, and these are too often deadly."

Medical error is currently listed by the NIH as the 3rd leading cause of death in America. Many deaths caused by medical error are not counted as such. There may be times in each of our lives where we need to utilize the services of a hospital. The goal of this article is to educate on how to increase the odds of avoiding medical error and make it out of the hospital alive. We must take charge of our own care during a hospital stay and vigilant to be aware of what is going on around us. If are unable, having a family member, friend or hired advocate close by at all times possible is the most valued and potentially life saving asset.

Every year, 1 out of every 25 patients develops an infection

while in the hospital—an infection that didn’t have to happen.

Make sure that Doctors and hospital staff wash their hands before they examine or even touch you.

If you do not see them do so, empower yourself to politely ask.

To increase your safety and survival outcomes, here are some helpful tips/resources:

Assign medical power of attorney to someone you trust to be inquisitive and diligent on your behalf. This gives them the authority to monitor your care, make decisions on your behalf when you can not, and to freely exchange information with doctors and nursing staff. This can be done prior to or during your hospital stay. With two witnesses there is no need to have it notarized by law.

What they don't want you to know is:

As many as 440,000 people die every year from

errors, injuries, accidents, and infections

in US hospitals

Attorney Alternatives, A Florida Paralegal Firm, charges $35 to fill out and email you the fully prepared form, ready for print and signature.

Don't have someone who can be your heath care advocate? Consider hiring one, it just might save your life. Here are three places I found with a simple google search, but there are many.

Click here for additional important Safety tips that will help you or your loved one survive a hospital stay. Topics include prevention of medication errors.

A Medicare patient has a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing injury,

harm or death when admitted to a hospital

Visit the US National Library of Medicine online to research medications being given to you. Ask questions. Know what's going into your body and check for contraindications. Too often one doctor will give something that contraindicates what a second doctor is giving. Short staffed hospitals tend to move quickly without ensuring medication contraindications. A medication may also cause sudden side effects that are mistaken for illness and trigger caregivers to dispense additional and non-necessary medications. The results can be deadly. Know that you have the right to refuse any drug.

Visit the US National Library of Medicine section on medical studies for useful information - do your own homework. Doctors are human beings who are "practicing" medicine and their word should not be taken as the right answer automatically. I'm not saying they are never right. In fact there is a 3 in 4 chance that they are. But don't risk the 1 in 4 that they are not. You know your own body better than anyone, but when you don't know, double check the information that the doctor is giving you.

How safe is your hospital? Check Hospital Safety Grade to use the search tools to find the letter grade given to your local hospitals along with the reasons why. This is a nationwide database put together by the Leapfrog group. Here hospitals are ranked for everything from infection rates, surgical rates and having qualified physicians.

Today alone, more than 1,000 people will die

because of a preventable hospital error

Of course we must stay hopeful during a hospital stay, but I encourage you to take it one step further. Be your own advocate if you can. Don't blindly trust medical staff. Trust yourself, trust your gut. Ask questions, the hard ones, even if you are afraid to. Question their decisions, ask why they are doing what they are doing, question the side effects of prescriptions and courses of action. It just might save your life or that of someone you love.

Source: & National Institute of Health/NIH

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