Picking The Doctor Who’s Right For You

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Recent findings highlight the need for patients to take an active interest in their safety when visiting local hospitals. The Seattle medical malpractice lawyers of the Bernard Law Group are helping out by offering tips on picking the right doctor and preserving one’s health in the process.

...many people give more thought to deciding where to go for an oil change than they do to where to get a checkup or even a serious surgical procedure.

A disappointingly large number of citizens decide their doctor or hospital based on what’s closest to their home. This is a decision that can come back to haunt its maker.

In a June 22 article called “4 Seattle hospitals could be penalized over patient care,” the Seattle Times explored government efforts to punish hospitals with lapses in patient safety procedures. More than a quarter of Washington’s 48 hospitals could potentially face penalties, which are tied to safety issues that could make an infection or some other type of adversity more likely.

The Bernard Law Group’s Seattle medical malpractice attorneys have watched this trend develop and have decided to speak on the matter. Kirk Bernard has been helping Washington citizens deal with the fallout of improper medical care for over 30 years, and he hopes anyone requiring the assistance of a doctor will take the proper precautions.

“Considering that your life could very literally be on the line, more time should be given to choosing a doctor than just about any other service you can think of,” said Mr. Bernard. “Still, many people give more thought to deciding where to go for an oil change than they do to where to get a checkup or even a serious surgical procedure. Take the time to learn about the options available before making a decision you could wind up regretting.”

A patient can take a more active interest in his or her own health, and in turn avoid costly medical disasters, if they remember these tips:

•Conduct Research- The internet is a boon to patients hoping to learn more about the safety records of hospitals and individual doctors in their area. While hospitals may not be keen on openly sharing a complete track record of adverse incidents, various consumer watchdog websites and directories like Yelp provide a means of conducting at least a minimal background check.

•Speak With Your Medical Team- Once a doctor has been chosen, a patient should feel comfortable discussing his or her treatment at length with that individual. If a doctor seems impatient about these questions, that could be a red flag. A patient doesn’t need to agree to any procedure until they’ve had their mind set at ease.

•Get Second Opinions- A person who doesn’t agree with what their doctor is telling them or who otherwise feels uneasy about the treatment has a right to go elsewhere for a second opinion. This second meeting could uncover a completely new diagnosis or treatment option that provides a more favorable outcome to the patient.

•Explore All Options- Hand in hand with getting a second opinion is the need to conduct research and ask about all possible treatment options. In some cases, such an inquiry might reveal that a doctor was far too quick to rush into surgery or wasn’t comfortable with a therapy that’s commonplace at another practice. After all, even experts can disagree.

•Use Caution With Controversial Treatments- Medical devices and drugs get recalled on a regular basis, and the lead-up to such recalls will often be marked by widespread reports of adverse circumstances related to the products. Discovering that a product that will be used during surgery has allegedly been injuring people might be grounds for a rethinking of options. Robotic surgery, for example, has been on the hot seat as of late due to reports of burns, lacerations, and a lack of proper training among doctors.

•Schedule Follow Ups- Once an operation or treatment regimen is concluded, schedule a checkup with a doctor. This is even more important if side effects or pain manifest. A slight abdominal twinge might turn out to be a surgical tool left behind in a person’s body. Don’t scoff: that happens.

•Contact An Attorney- If a surgery or treatment regimen has gone awry, injured persons and their family members have a right to explore their legal options. Speaking with an attorney could provide a means of securing the kind of rightful compensation that will pay for the treatment that became necessary to correct what malpractice forced a person to endure.

Kirk Bernard has been protecting the rights of Washington personal injury victims for 30 years, achieving landmark court victories and settlements in the process. The Bernard Law Group provides legal representation for those injured in car crashes, bicycle collisions, workplace accidents, medical malpractice situations, defective drug incidents, premises liability cases, and more. Persons interested in a free consultation can visit the Bernard Law Group’s Seattle medical malpractice website.

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Megan Castello
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