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How can patients help prevent surgical errors?

You recognize that going in for an upcoming surgical operation can improve your health and wellbeing. But you may still feel nervous about the procedure, especially due to the prevalence of surgical errors in hospitals and medical facilities.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, in the U.S. every year, at least 4,000 surgical errors occur. These mistakes can lead to adverse outcomes and complications, so you should take steps to help prevent a surgical error before your next operation.

Properly identify yourself

After you get to the hospital, fill out all paperwork requested accurately. If the hospital already has your information, look it over again to make sure it is accurate and current to prevent a situation that could lead to medical malpractice.

Ask questions prior to surgery

Ask your nurses, doctors and hospital staff to make sure the equipment used matches your patient file and your identification. Make sure your medical team goes over all pertinent information with you before your operation begins.

Reduce your infection risk

After your procedure, ask anyone who comes and visits you to scrub their hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. This same standard applies to your medical staff, so make sure they follow proper hygiene practices when caring for you following your operation.

Even though your medical team may want to protect your health and interests, surgical errors can still occur. As a patient, you must be aware of the care you receive in the hospital or a medical facility to help ensure malpractice does not occur.