Consumer Alerts: How to avoid medical errors

When someone you love gets medical care, there can be a lot going on – from medication to lab tests to surgery.
At each step, there’s a chance someone could make a mistake. 
No one knows how many people die from medical errors – studies have placed it anywhere from 5,000 to more than 250,000 a year. Experts agree that one of the big issues is communication.
Patient advocate Annmarie McIlwain says when it comes to prescription drugs, patients shouldn’t rely on their memory.
“After a month's supply, keep all those empty bottles in a bag and keep it in your car, keep it in the glove compartment, keep it somewhere that its accessible,” he says.
How to avoid other medical errors:
  • keep an updated list of all health problems with you.
  • If possible, bring a family member or friend along for medical visits.
  • Make sure one provider, typically your primary care doctor, coordinates your care with specialists.
A simple conversation could make a big difference when it comes to your health.