July 03, 2009
The National Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals every year because of medical errors – more than the number who die from car accidents or breast cancer. To reduce your risk of being part of that statistic, prepare a checklist and enlist the help of a healthcare advocate.
When you go on vacation, you probably write a checklist of items to pack and things to do before you leave. Going to the hospital is no different.
Here are some items to take care of before you go to the hospital:
You may want to enlist the help of a healthcare advocate. The advocate can act as your second set of eyes and ears, take notes for you – especially if you're distracted by pain or heavily sedated – and clarify your caregivers' instructions.
Your advocate doesn't need any special medical training. It's just someone you trust who knows your medical history, pays attention to details, and isn't afraid to ask questions.
It's smart to have these items in writing before you leave the hospital:
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