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How to identify qualified medical professionals in Aurora

Aurora residents may be disturbed to hear that a recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins reported that as many as 200,000 deaths annually are caused by a medical error. Sometimes medical malpractice is due to a poor decision made by a physician. Other errors are system errors, caused by which include a lack of communication between health care providers, mistakes made when a patient is transferred to a different unit and issues with electronic medical record systems.

This information may frighten those who are seeking treatment for a serious illness or injury. However, there are things patients can do to ensure they receive the proper medical care and to identify when a physician may be acting negligently.

First of all, patients should inquire as to why they need the treatment and if there are any alternatives. A competent physician or surgeon should be able to provide patients with a detailed explanation of the treatment they need, whether there are any other alternatives and what the outcomes of these options would be.

In addition, patients should ask about the risks associated with the treatment they need, as well as the rates of complications. Informed consent is essential. A doctor who cannot provide you with the information you need to consent to treatment may not be the best fit.

It is also important to know what the surgeon's or physician's background is. How often has he or she treated your particular condition? Is he or she board certified? Is he or she a leader in his or her area of practice? This information can help you decide if the surgeon or physician is qualified to provide the treatment you need.

Finally, if you are given medication, ask what the medication is, what it does to you and the reason the physician wants you to take it. If a medical professional does not know how to answer these questions, this could be a red flag.

In the end, it is important for those who are facing a serious illness or injury resulting in hospitalization to receive the highest quality of care. While there are steps patients can take to ensure they are being cared for properly, it is ultimately up to medical professionals to fulfill their duty of care. If a medical professional fails to do so, injuring the patient, the patient may want to determine if they have any legal recourse.

Source: Fox News Health, "Avoiding medical errors when hospitalized: 5 things to know before surgery," Dr. Kevin R. Campbell, June 1, 2016

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