Science and medicine have made many breakthroughs in health care over the years, but doctors and other medical providers are not infallible. Whether it's a missed diagnosis, failure to cross-check medications for interactions or a botched surgery, medical errors can affect the patients for the rest of their lives. Making sure you have a thorough and complete understanding of any procedures, tests or prescribed medications can help you feel more in control of your health. Here are five questions to ask your doctor.
1. How will this medication help me?
Many people just assume that if the doctor is giving them a medication, they should take it. While medications can be extremely helpful in treating and curing various illnesses and diseases, they can also have serious side effects and interact with other drugs. Make sure you know what the medication is supposed to do for you, as well as the brand and generic names, dosage, and pill color and labeling. This ensures you can let your doctor know if it's helping or worsening your condition and recognize a problem in the event that the wrong medication or dosage is given to you.
2. Why do I need this test?
Every test should be done with a purpose, such as to get more information about your condition or to see if you are a candidate for an alternative treatment. Before consenting to a test, make sure to ask your doctor why it's being performed and what the goal is. Keep in mind that not all tests are risk free, and you should also be aware of any complications that may occur.
3. Are there any alternatives?
Health care goes through trends like any other industry. This can mean that doctors get in the habit of treating things the same way. Ask your doctor what other procedures or treatments may be available, and why one is preferred over or performed more often than others. It's also a good idea to ask how much experience the doctor has with the procedure and what his success rate is. If you don't get satisfactory answers, a second opinion may be needed.
While these questions can help you prepare for your procedure or test, what if you're already dealing with a possible medical error? If you believe you have experienced harm because of a medical error, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Gary Osborne & Associates to discuss your situation and learn more about your possible legal options.