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Asking doctors the right questions may help reduce complications

Chicago residents may be hesitant to ask their doctors questions when they receive medical treatment, but a strong doctor-patient relationship is vital for efficient care. By knowing the right questions to ask their doctors, patients may be able to positively impact their recovery from illnesses or surgeries.

Though medical staff at hospitals are dedicated to ensuring their patients receive the best care possible, certain practices such as shift changes or the introduction of new medical residents may complicate a patient's treatment. Medication errors are more common when new, inexperienced staff begin working in hospitals, so patients who know what medications they should receive may be able to call attention to errors. Asking about the best times for surgical procedures may reduce the likelihood of complications occurring when surgeons are unavailable.

Doctors may be rushed during primary care appointments or pre-operative consultations. Asking primary care physicians about what will happen if a treatment is successful can provide patients with a benchmark to assess whether they have been misdiagnosed and when to return to the doctor's office for a follow-up. It is also important for patients and doctors to understand the risk of complications that may occur during surgical procedures. Asking about how a doctor's personal complication rate compares to national averages may help a patient gauge whether their doctor is prepared for complications.

High patient caseloads and other demands of the job often cause doctors to cut patients short and dismiss questions or concerns, sometimes resulting in misdiagnosis or other serious medical errors that may place patients' lives in danger. Patients who believe their doctors were negligent in providing care may consider filing a medical malpractice suit. Personal injury attorneys may be able to advise victims of malpractice in collecting their medical records and other evidence needed to establish doctor negligence.

Source: Care2, "5 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You Unless You Ask ", Ann Pietrangelo, August 04, 2014

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