The Law Offices of John Phebus

Reducing the chance of medical errors

Arizona residents who are scheduled to have surgery may be concerned if they have heard about a study that appeared in a peer-reviewed journal that discussed the high rate of fatal medical errors. However, there are steps people can take to protect themselves.

One is making sure that the surgery is necessary in the first place. People should discuss their condition with a physician and what alternatives to surgery might exist. Doctors should have data to support their opinions. Once the decision to have surgery is made, the patient should research and choose that provider carefully. The surgeon should have performed many of the same procedures in the past and should be board-certified.

People have a right to know their own treatment plan and what complications may arise from surgery. A surgeon should be able to provide resources so that a person can read or watch more about the procedure and any risks.

In addition to understanding risks, people should asks about any tests that are done. Tests carry their own risks, and people should be given the opportunity to weigh those risks against benefits. They should also ask questions about any medication they are given and its dosage. If medical staff cannot answer satisfactorily, they may want to speak to their physician.

A medical error can result in a worsened condition that requires additional expensive treatment and care. Patients concerned about the medical care they have received during a surgical procedure and who have been harmed as a result of what could have been an error may want to have the assistance of counsel in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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