It’s not at all unusual for patients to put tremendous faith in the hands of their doctors. They often assume given their education and level of training that they are in safe hands. One study found that 70% of people totally trust what their doctor says and never even bother asking for a second opinion. Trust is a good thing, blind trust, however, can be dangerous. There are certain warning signs that all patients should be on the watch for to avoid having preventable mistakes happen to them.
The first sign is a sleepy doctor. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, surgeons who slept for less than six hours the night prior to performing a surgery had twice as many surgical complications as those surgeons who got enough sleep. Many doctors understand the benefits of sleep but often cannot help being stuck at the hospital for terribly long shifts, sometimes even 24 hours. This lack of sleep combined with the stress of the job can result in poor decisions from the overworked docs. These wrong decisions lead to medication errors or misdiagnoses.
Another sign for worry is a doctor’s personal bias. According to a study conducted by The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, some physicians admit to assuming that women exaggerate their symptoms. Due to this unfortunate and unfounded bias, women may not be given the treatment they deserve. Patients should be on the lookout for doctors who seem eager to impose their own views on a patient’s care.
A third sign of trouble is when a doctor is prescription happy. Going for the prescription pad is the fast fix to problems and lets doctors avoid the time of actually listening to patients describe their illness and formulate non-prescription alternatives. Rather than simply accepting the prescription and hurrying out the door, stop your doctor and ask if there are any non-drug alternatives. Ask why the doctor selected that specific medicine over others and make sure to get a list of pros and cons for taking the drug. If the doctor acts like you’re a bother, it may be time to get a second opinion.
Finally, patients should make sure the doctor is up-to-date, both with his equipment and his information. While age isn’t a determining factor, a doctor needs to be on the cutting edge and should not be using old or outdate diagnostic or screening methods. Given the increase in modern medical technologies, it is important doctors keep up to ensure patients receive the best possible care.
Patients need to remember to ask questions and ask them often. Always ask why you’re being given a medication and for how long. Keep track of your symptoms and any feedback you receive from your doctor. If your condition is not improving or you are receiving conflicting messages from the medical team that might be a sign that it’s time to look for a new doc.
If you would like to speak with a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney about a potential claim, contact one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys today for a free consultation at (267) 809-8250.