3. You're in the E.R.
* Are you at a Level 1 trauma center? According the Centers for Disease control, emergency care at a Level 1 trauma center entails 25% lower risk than care at facilities that are not similarly equipped. To see the latest trauma center information, click HERE . Erie, incidentally, has only one trauma center currently. UPMC Hamot is rated as a Level 2 trauma center. The nearest Level 1 trauma center is St. Elizabeth in Youngstown, OH.
* Check your wristband. Your wristband should have important identifying information about you and, if it's wrong, you could accidentally receive harmful treatment and medication. Check your wristband to make sure your name, birth date and other information (like medication allergies) is accurate.
* Is this medication correct? The most common error in a busy E.R. is the administration of the wrong medicine. Ask your nurse three questions: What is this medication? Who is it for? Why am I getting it?
4. You're Having a Baby!
* Have a backup plan. Doctors take vacations, too and they can't always be available. They'll have a replacement and you should meet with that person to make sure you're comfortable with the backup.
* Most births are routine but when problems arise it can be chaotic and dangerous. Make sure the team works well together. Listen for office gossip, note whether doctors and nurses call each other by their first name, trust your gut. You want a "flat hierarchy" of mutual respect.
* Make yourself useful. You can ask a nurse how to read the fetal heart monitor. The monitor squiggles a lot but some deviations are worth noting for the staff.
* Ask questions. The most important? Say, "What's going on now?" You might get annoyed responses but you'll keep people on their toes and you'll stay informed.
5. Your Loved One is in the Hospital
* Make sure the documents clearly identify you as the patient advocate and that your loved one has told hospital staff to share information with you.
* If your family member is in ICU, does the hospital have a critical care specialist on the floor? Only 25% of hospitals have these specialists but studies show they have a significant statistical impact, reducing mortality risk by 30%. If your hospital doesn't have one, you may want to consider using a different hospital.
* Ask whether blood clot protection is needed. Blood clots are a major risk of most surgery, broken bones, cancer treatments and even long term bed rest. There are medications that can reduce the risk of clotting but many patients don't receive it without asking.
* Where are you taking him and why? Always ask questions but particularly if your loved one is being moved. Hospitals often use volunteers or poorly trained staff to transport patients. Make sure you know that they've got the right patient and are doing the right thing. Go with them if possible.
* Can you review everything one more time? Patients often don't follow instructions and sometimes it is because they didn't understand them in the first place. Make sure you understand all instructions before you let your doctor leave.
Contact an Erie Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If your loved one was injured as a result of a medical mistake, you probably want answers. Why did this happen? Was there a mistake made that was avoidable? Do we have a case? The Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. have the knowledge and experience to accurately assess and thoroughly prepare your case. You may be entitled to compensation and we'd like to help you. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case at 814-580-5017 or toll free at 877-505-9548 or use our online contact form .