When it comes to health, you are your own best advocate. You know how you feel and how much you’re willing to endure before treatment becomes a necessity not a luxury. Unfortunately, there are health care workers out there who are overly enthusiastic about medical procedures, who make mistakes, and who are simply bad doctors. To reduce your risk of being a victim of medical negligence there are some simple steps you can take right now.
Is that a Real Medical Degree?
Firstly, make sure you check out your physician’s qualifications. Some fraudulent doctors have been known to print fake degrees to hang on the walls of their practice. Before agreeing to any medical procedure be sure to check that your physician is board certified and in good standing. All it takes is a call to your local medical licensing authority, which should be listed in the phone directory. You can also do online searches to see if there are any lawsuits involving your physician or their practice.
Research, Research, Research!
Secondly, do your own research. We don’t all have the time or the inclination to gain a medical degree, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t give ourselves the opportunity to understand at least a little about our health. There are many wonderful online resources, support groups, and official organisations representing a range of diseases and conditions that offer fantastic information written by experienced medical professionals that can help give you a better picture of your health.
This puts you in a much stronger position to ask questions if something sounds odd or unfamiliar, and talking to people suffering from a similar condition can give you a clearer idea of what to expect from diagnosis and treatment.
Physicians often have to tell us things we don’t want to hear, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t sometimes wrong. Getting a second opinion is a great idea, especially if you have been recommended to undergo surgery or treatment that presents a serious risk to your overall health.
Be Yourself, not Your Disease
Lastly, it’s helpful to realise that the daily grind of life in medicine can sometimes mean that even the best physicians end up seeing patients as their disease or condition, or as simply a number on a chart. Try to make a connection with your doctor and ensure that they see you as a person that they are there to help. That way, when you’re being wheeled into surgery, they will know that you play the violin, or paint, or love to hike, and they’re perhaps a little less likely to accidentally amputate the wrong limb.