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5 tips to avoid being a victim of a medical mistake

It has been estimated that 200,000 people die each year in the U.S. as the result of a medical mistake. In fact, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in this country. In first and second place are heart disease and cancer.

In light of this alarming statistic, Forbes recently ran a question-and-answer column about medical malpractice. Within that column there were a number of tips that Michigan residents may find interesting regarding how to avoid encountering a medical mistake.

  1. Patients should do some independent research regarding their health conditions, and arrive at doctor's appointments as informed as possible with questions that they think are important.
  2. Have a family member or friend accompany you on important doctor's visits. They might come up with questions that you don't think of.
  3. Speak up for yourself. If you think something is wrong, do not be afraid to ask your doctor or health care provider about it.
  4. If you do not feel that you are receiving competent and proper care, get a new doctor.
  5. Always get a second opinion.

These are just a few things that patients here in Michigan can do to take their health into their own hands. Of course, following these steps cannot completely guard a person from medical malpractice. When a medical professional or health care organization does not meet the accepted standards of care and the patient suffers as a result, medical malpractice has occurred. Victims of medical malpractice should seek legal counsel to ensure that they understand their rights and options to compensation and care following a medical mistake.

Source: Forbes.com, "10 Things You Want To Know About Medical Malpractice," Demetrius Cheeks, May 16, 2013

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