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Simple things to do to avoid medical malpractice, part II

Between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year all over the United States because of medical malpractice; with such high numbers of fatal medical mistakes, it is vital that patients be able to take some control over their own hospital stays. Medical errors account for more deaths each year than AIDS, breast cancer and motor vehicle accidents, but there are some things a New York patient can do to protect him- or herself from medical malpractice.

This post will continue to discuss some of the things that patients in Albany hospitals and clinics can do to help ensure they have a safe hospital visit. For example, patients can and should ask any hospital personnel whether they have washed their hands before they come into the room. Even if someone has used a hand sanitizer, a patient is more than able to ask the doctor to actually wash his or her hands. While some patients may be concerned that speaking up could cause even more problems, it is possible to bring up concerns without making a huge deal of them.

In an effort to avoid infections that are so prevalent in hospitals, patients can bring disinfectant wipes to clean the surfaces of often-touched equipment. Whether it is the railings on the bed or the television remote, it is possible that the cleaning staff missed some deadly germs from the previous occupant.

One of the best things to do, however, is to never assume anything. You may hope that someone would plug in all the machines or care equipment in, but it is always important to ask to make sure they did, especially if the equipment is necessary to keep you alive. Hospital staff members are human, too, but any mistakes they make could cost a patient his or her life.

Source: The Connecticut Mirror, "A patient survival guide, from a mother who learned too late," Arielle Levin Becker, March 8, 2012

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