Patients go into the hospital when they are sick, and unfortunately, sometimes they go to the hospital and instead of becoming well, they become sicker. A woman who had two members of her family who suffered adverse events relating to medical negligence, investigated and found that there is much “common knowledge” out there that can help patients, but doctors and nurses can often overlook these issues.

She found that checklists are important for hospitals, and have been used extensively in an attempt to prevent various medical malpractice errors, from wrong-site surgery to giving the wrong drugs to a patient. She decided that patients needed their own checklist.

Her goal is to arm patients with the information before they suffer secondary problems related their hospitalization. Because there are so many doctors involved, ensuring communication occurs is vital.

An important tip is to be active in the process and ask questions. Doctors may find this uncomfortable, and she suggests some ways to do this without bruising the ego of the doctors.

She had two important suggestions. The first one is that you ask doctors and medical staff to wash their hands. She describes it as the number one thing to prevent infections. Second, she recommends your take notes. You can also use them to ask questions, and to note when medications are given.

Written details provide you with much more credibility and help everyone be mindful of what they are doing. If a doctor or nurse knows you are taking notes, they are more likely to be alert to potential problems, because they know someone is watching.