Taking the Confusion Out of Common Injury and Estate Planning Worries: Answers to Your Frequent Questions

The most important job for any attorney is making sure that his client understands every aspect of her case. Although some lawyers are comfortable keeping their clients in the dark, we feel that you deserve more. You deserve to have all of your questions and concerns addressed in order to pursue your own case confidently and successfully. This is why we take the initiative to answer common questions that you may have even before you even step into our office. If you don't see your question answered below, please contact our office at 855-522-5291.

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  • What can I do when I am hospitalized to protect myself from hospital negligence?

    Take aggressive steps to avoid being hurt by hospital negligenceWhen you are in the hospital, you may feel helpless. You are away from home, out of your comfort zone, and at the mercy of the people charged with taking care of you. You don’t have to take it lying down, however. Learn what questions to ask and when to speak up for your own protection.

    Be Your Own Advocate—Or Bring One With You

    If you are undergoing a non-emergency procedure or elective surgery, there are things you can do when scheduling your visit to protect yourself. Once you are in the hospital, however, it is even more important that you take steps to make sure you do not become a victim of a doctor’s or nurse’s negligence. Make a list before you go to the hospital, and include the following:

    • Take someone with you. When you are in the hospital, you need someone in your corner. Plan to have a family member or friend with you as much as possible. This person can act as your eyes and ears, especially when you are asleep or on medication that makes you foggy. The best choice is someone who is not afraid to ask questions on your behalf.
       
    • Bring your prescription bottles with you. While the staff should ask what medication you have been taking, having your bottles with dosage labels with you will ensure that you don’t make a mistake in relaying the information and that they don’t make a mistake when writing it down. It is also a visible reminder to staff that you are taking additional meds which may interact with hospital treatments.
       
    • Request a blood-clot screening. If you are at risk for blood clots—and most long-term patients are—make sure you are given compression socks or heparin therapy to prevent venous thromboembolism, the cause of death in 1 in 100 patients. Don’t wait for a doctor to offer—ask the question up front.
       
    • Ask for help getting around. Falls can result in serious injury, especially if they happen while you are recovering from surgery. You should be given skid-proof socks for walking around your room, but if you are at all unsteady on your feet, ask for help from the staff, who should respond quickly.

    While asking for these things may initially make you feel uncomfortable, remember that doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are all there to help you. The mistakes they make are almost always unintentional, and a word or two from you could prevent an error that could end their career. If you ask nicely and don’t take an accusatory tone, they may even thank you.

    Our Experts Know What to Do

    If you suspect that you have been the victim of hospital negligence, call us toll free at 855-522-5291. Our on-staff nurse and network of medical professionals will assess your case and let you know if we can help. Don’t hesitate—call now.

  • I am scheduling an elective surgical procedure. What can I do to reduce the risk that I will be the victim of a hospital mistake?

    Take precautions to avoid being the victim of a surgical mistakeDoctor visits and hospital stays are always a little frightening. Patients get nervous about the diagnosis they may receive, whether required procedures will be painful, and whether they will have the courage to ask the right questions. One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is whether the doctor or medical staff will make a mistake that will result in further harm or even death. Unfortunately, hospital mistakes are all too common and it is in your best interest not only to worry about it, but also to take action to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a medical mistake.

    What You Can Do Before Surgery to Protect Yourself

    If you are in a situation that requires immediate emergency care, you may not have much of a say in where and how you are treated. However, if you are scheduling a non-emergency procedure or elective surgery, keep the following tips in mind to protect yourself from common hospital errors:

    • Choose your hospital carefully. Do a little research to find the hospital in your area with the lowest rate of patient infections. Studies show that over 31,000 people die each year from infections they acquired after checking into a hospital. Ask your referring doctor, call the hospital, or do an Internet search for the most recent data.
       
    • Avoid Fridays. Doctors themselves recommend avoiding Fridays, particularly Friday afternoons, for elective procedures. Just like everyone else, surgeons and nurses are a little less focused and more tired at the end of the week.
       
    • Avoid weekends. Hospitals can be understaffed on weekends, labs are often closed, and most doctors are on call and will take time to get to the hospital. Obviously, you can’t stop a stroke or heart attack from happening on a Sunday afternoon, but if it’s not an emergency, wait until Monday.
       
    • Don’t take the first appointment of the day. When scheduling an elective procedure, try to get the second or third opening for the day. Staff is alert and focused and any shift-change issues will be worked out by then.

    Again, emergencies should always be taken care of immediately, but when you do have control over the situation, assert yourself and make sure you get the care you deserve.

    When Things Go Wrong, We Can Help

    If, despite your best efforts, you come out of the hospital worse than you went in, you may have a case for hospital negligence. At Tapella & Eberspacher, our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to hospital litigation. Contact us now to see if we can help you.