Medical errors are a significant cause of serious injury or death for people in Nevada, as well as across the country. Your doctor or surgeon might falsely diagnose an issue you are having, give you the wrong prescription or make a mistake during surgery. Additionally, you might be vulnerable to infection when you stay in the hospital. If you undergo a surgical procedure, you could be exposed to bacteria or viruses, and your immune system is likely to be weakened during recovery.

Is there anything you can do to reduce the risk of an infection or mistake while you are in the hospital? Consumer Reports has provided the following steps for preparing for a medical procedure, as well as discussing your concerns with your doctor:

  • Discuss the upcoming procedure with your surgeon and ask for details on post-operative care.
  • Ask a close family member or friend for help while you recover, such as preparing meals, handling light housework and taking care of children and pets.
  • Make sure you understand which medications you will be prescribed, the dosage and how often to take it.
  • Understand that it is acceptable to be sure your medical team has adhered to hygiene standards before any procedure, such as washing their hands before checking your incision.
  • Update yourself on the details that are written on your chart, or designate a trusted person to stay informed of your status.
  • Consider writing a living will before you go in for surgery, which will let your loved ones and medical team know of your wishes in case you are incapacitated.

It is always a good idea to be as prepared as possible before an upcoming medical procedure. Communicating well with your medical staff and being prepared may improve your chances of a smooth recovery.