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5 questions to have answered before having surgery

Many Houston residents will need to undergo a surgical procedure at least once. Whether the surgery is complicated or routine, patients should ask their surgeon several questions before undergoing surgery. This may help the patient understand the procedure and hopefully reduce the risk of a surgical error.

Medical errors are a serious problem in the United States with medical mistakes being the third leading cause of death. It can be scary to undergo a major medical procedure, like a surgery, knowing that medical mistakes can be serious and fatal. Before undergoing surgery, there are some questions a patient should ask their surgeon.

One area a patient should investigate before a surgery is their surgeon's medical background and professional credentials. Also, a patient should ask their doctor why they are having the procedure and what are some other alternatives. A doctor should be able to explain the procedure, discuss alternatives and walk through what the outcomes may be from the surgery. In addition to why the procedure is being done, a patient should also learn what the risks are to the surgery. A patient should know what complications may arise so that they have a better idea of what to expect before and after surgery. If a doctor thinks that tests should be run, a patient should ask why and if there are any risks. Finally, when a patient is brought medication they should ask what it is and why they need to take it. Medication errors are common and can lead to a serious injury.

Surgery and hospital stays can be scary and patients can feel like they are not in control. A medical error can cause a serious injury or even death. A legal professional skilled in medical malpractice may be able to help a family determine if a medical error caused their loved one's injury and may be able to hold the medical provider responsible for their negligence.

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

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