We’ve been representing clients for over 30 years in Iowa. Some of the medical malpractice cases we’ve been involved with are heart breaking and honestly, scary. Clients come in who are now living with long-term disabilities and carrying a financial burden they were not equipped to cover.
One out of 5 Iowans Impacted by Medical Errors
Did you know? In Iowa, between 959 and 4,300 patients die per year due to medical errors. 1 out of 5 Iowans say a medical error has personally impacted them during surgery, a wrong diagnosis, incorrect medications, and other errors. This is not acceptable. (Learn more about this study at Heartland Health Research Institute)
When medical malpractice cases come to our firm we make sure we represent our clients to the fullest and help them pursue financial damages. We want to go a step further. We want to help you prevent as many medical errors as possible. Here are steps we’ve implemented over the years that you can also use to protect yourself.
We know we can’t prevent 100% of the medical errors, but with prevention, education, and diligence we can lower those chances.
Medical Malpractice Prevention: Read Before Your Next Doctor’s Appointment
1. Feel Comfortable with Your Doctors, Nurses, and Pharmacists Knowledge of Your Medications
Prevent medical errors around medications by …
- Telling your doctor about all medicines, vitamins, and supplements you’re taking. Some patients will even put all of their medication bottles and packages in a bag and bring it in. Some will take pictures of their labels. Others carry a note card with a list. Do what works for you but make sure you have a FULL list each time.
- Making sure you doctor knows about any allergies you have to medicine. Keep the list on a note card in your wallet and/or on your phone. (Make sure your emergency contact has this list, too!)
- Reading over prescriptions. If your doctor writes a prescription for you – make sure you can read it. If you can’t then a pharmacist probably can’t either! Ask your pharmacist to verify that they understand which medication and dosage you’re supposed to be receiving.
2. Understand Your Surgeries and Procedures
Prevent medical errors around surgeries and procedures by …
- Choosing a hospital with a reputation of having successfully done your particular surgery or procedure in the past.
- Taking the time to ask for a second opinion if you feel it’s in your best interest. Don’t feel pressured to move forward with your doctor’s recommendations.
- Checking the hospitals quality and ratings. You can do so at medicare.gov. You can also check to see if your physician has ever been disciplined by state regulators at medicalboard.iowa.gov.
- Inviting a relative or friend come to you appointments and to be with you during a procedure. This ensures you have twice as many ears to hear recommendations, treatment directions, and answers to your questions.
- Asking healthcare staff if they’ve washed their hands before they touch you. Watch as they enter the room to make sure!
- Finding out why a test or treatment is being administered. Ask exactly how it can help you.
- Reviewing your treatment plan with your doctor when you’re being discharged. Review the treatment plan you will need to follow at home. Don’t feel silly asking questions – even if it’s the same question over and over. Make sure the instructions are written down, so you can review them as often as you need to at home. Ask about activities and medications.
- Confirming with your doctor that your treatment is based on the latest evidence. Ask for proof!
3. Speak up and Ask Questions. And Keep Asking.
You have the right to ask anyone questions about your procedures, care, and treatment plans. If it has to do with YOU then you have the right to ask. And you have the right to ask as many times as you need to.
Don’t assume the doctors and nurses entering your hospital room know all your important health information. Tell each of them when you meet them.
Even with Precautions, Medical Malpractice is Still a Risk
Preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. The National Institutes of Health suggest the cost of medical errors in the Unites States is 19.5 billion dollars every year.
If you or a loved one has the unfortunate experience of suffering from a medical error, call us as quickly as possible for a free consultation. We’ll ask for a complete account of your experience, from your first contact with the doctor to the last one and may eventually ask for your medical records as well. This gives us the information we need to move forward.
Call Us for a Free Consultation
We have been proudly representing Iowans for over 30 years who have fallen victim to substandard medical care. It would be our honor to visit with you about your concerns, don’t hesitate to call us today at 515-246-8484. We represent clients in Des Moines, Davenport/Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Sioux City, Council Bluffs and more. We will travel to help you!
Visit our medical malpractice FAQ page if you’d like to learn more.