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Ways to help avoid surgical errors for Maryland patients, others

Patients who are facing a surgical procedure may have many details to tend to before the big day. It also makes sense for a patient to seek to ensure their own safety in order to avoid becoming a victim of surgical errors. A few basic tips could benefit patients in every state, including Maryland.

According surgical errors occur with some degree of frequency. Reportedly, operations carried out in error on the incorrect patient or on the incorrect organ occur dozens of times per week in this country. In order to combat these types of mistakes from occurring, medical facilities are resorting to a multilevel checking system, such as repeated verification of patient identification and the planned surgical procedures.

In addition, proper care after surgery is also imperative to safeguard a patient's health and recovery. It may be helpful for the patient, or their loved ones, to keep written records of all caregivers, medical testing ordered and prescribed medications. Keeping track of pertinent information and personnel may enable the patient to stay abreast of their care and be able to contact the correct physician in the event they have concerns or experience complications that could negatively impact their health.

Patients may benefit by researching their doctors and medical facilities -- as well as the surgical procedures proposed -- as much as they are able to in order to make optimal decisions for their care. While it is wise to be as informed as possible, some patients may still become victims of surgical errors in spite of taking every reasonable precaution. Maryland residents who believe they have been victimized by the medical errors on the part of physicians and/or other caregivers have recourse for to seek legal relief by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. If enough evidence exists to support such a claim, the patient may be entitled to a monetary judgment that could ensure they are able to obtain any necessary medical care as a result of the mistake that harmed them.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "How to survive your hospital stay", Lisa Esposito, June 3, 2014

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