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"You have turned my life around"

I am 87 years old, with a problem of the prostate gland. Before I met Dr. Baum, I went to the bathroom every 30-60 minutes. After Dr. Baum's treatment on my prostate, I go only 5 times per day and only 1 time at night! You turned my life around. I am so very grateful!

-Sidney Daigle

I want to thank you for your due diligence. You saved my life. I highly recommend you!

-Dwight Bastian

Thank you Dr. Baum! Because of you I'm back in the "rodeo"!

-Gerald Wallace


Medical errors are one of the Nation's leading causes of death and injury. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine estimates that as many as 44,000 to 98,000 people die in U.S. hospitals each year as the result of medical errors. This means that more people die from medical errors than from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. This article will provide you with 10 suggestions to decrease your risk of medical errors.

What are Medical Errors?

Medical errors happen when something that was planned as a part of medical care doesn't work out, or when the wrong plan was used in the first place. Medical errors can occur anytime you interact with the healthcare system including hospitals, doctors' offices, outpatient surgery centers, nursing homes, and pharmacies.

Errors can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, treatment, lab reports and even the equipment used to diagnose and treat various medical conditions.

Most errors result from problems created by today's complex health care system. But errors also happen when doctors and their patients have problems communicating. For example, a recent study supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that doctors often do not do enough to help their patients make informed decisions. Uninvolved and uninformed patients are less likely to accept the doctor's choice of treatment and less likely to do what they need to do to make the treatment work.

What Can You Do? Be Involved in Your Health Care

  1. The single most important way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team.

    That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. Some specific tips, based on the latest scientific evidence about what works best, follow.

  2. Make sure that all of your doctors know about all of your medications including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
  3. Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.

    This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.

  4. When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it.

    If you can't read your doctor's handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either.

  5. Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand.

    You should know why the drug is prescribed, what are the most common side effects, and how to take the medication.

  6. If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.

    Research shows that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition. That is don't go to a hospital that only does 10 coronary artery bypasses a year. You will do better in a hospital that does several hundred a year.

  7. When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.

    This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities.

  8. Speak up if you have questions or concerns.

    You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your health care.

  9. If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news.

    Your doctor should contact you about the results of every test that he/she recommends for you. This includes any test from a PSA test for prostate cancer, a glucose test for diabetes, your mammogram or your PAP smear for cervical cancer.

  10. If you have any questions or concerns about your health or your doctors recommendations, get a second opinion.

    No doctor should resent your request for another opinion. If they do, that's an indication that you really need more information.

For the most part, doctors enjoy having patients involved in their health care. Take time to get involved, learn more about your own health, and be a partner with your doctor in your own health and wellness.