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How to be an advocate for your health

With the number of reported medical errors reaching an all-time high, it is becoming more important than ever for you and your loved ones in the North Louisiana area to stand up for yourselves. Doctors are human and prone to making mistakes, but the consequences of those mistakes are often catastrophic for the victims. 

No one ever expects to suffer at the hands of their doctors, nurses and medical staff. As common as medical mistakes are becoming, it is necessary for you to speak up to prevent them. Here are some ways you and your loved ones can advocate for better health and care. 

Know your medical history 

You cannot expect to receive the best care possible for yourself if you do not inform your doctors and nurses about your medical history. Do not assume your previous doctors and health care providers kept accurate and detailed notes about your previous visits, conditions and medical needs. You should be prepared to provide them with as much information as necessary to ensure they arrive at the right diagnosis and treatment for you. 

Ask questions 

Not all doctors have good bedside manners; some of them only tell their patients what they feel they need to know. Others may be more forthcoming and actively encourage their patients to speak up and ask questions. Your doctor works for you. To ensure she or he performs the jobs right and keeps you informed, you should question your doctors; do not be so quick to accept what they say at face value. Ask for clarity and supporting evidence when you're informed about something you do not understand. 

Be honest 

There may be times where you experience embarrassing symptoms you may feel too ashamed to share with your doctor. As trivial as your symptoms and discomfort may seem at times, it is crucial for you to inform your doctor about them. It is challenging enough for doctors to properly diagnosis some conditions in a timely manner. The more details they have, the better and easier it is for them to exclude the wrong diagnoses and provide you with the correct one. 

Medical errors have a significant financial impact on patients. There is also the emotional turmoil and drastic health and lifestyle changes they bring about to consider. To reduce the chances of you experiencing issues stemming from medical errors, speak up, keep your doctor informed, question everything and get second and third opinions when necessary.

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