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Three things patients can do to uphold their rights

When we go to the hospital or seek treatment for an injury, we inherently trust our doctors to act in our best interests. After all, why wouldn’t we? We know that physicians go through an inordinate amount of training and they know about how ailments and diseases are caused and treated. However, there are some instances where their training and experience may not give them the right answers. Also, as a patient, you know your body better than anyone, and sometimes a treatment may not be as beneficial as it needs to be.

In these instances, it is imperative that you take steps to protect your health; especially considering that doctors commonly feel that you are not the least bit qualified to express directives about your health. So to avoid potential medical malpractice, we offer the following tips:

Know your medical history – Regardless of how many (or how few) times you have been to the hospital, it is important that you have a solid idea of what your medical history is; including when you have had surgery, medications you have taken (and are on right now), and how you have dealt with ailments in the past.

Ask questions – Doctors are trained to reduce complicated medical terms into plain English. But even then, some procedures may be difficult to understand; especially when it comes to know the risks of a particular procedure. So you should not be afraid of asking questions. Remember, the only “dumb” question is the question that is not asked.

Get a second opinion – Not all doctors approach a problem the same way, so it is understandable  if they may have different recommendations about a treatment plan. Getting a second opinion could be worth your while in this respect. 

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