The following recommendations can help you make sure you get more safety in your health care.

Step 1: Ask if you have questions or concerns.

  • Ask questions, and make sure you understand the answers.
  • Choose a trusted doctor.
  • Invite a family member or friend who can help you ask questions and understand the answers.

Step 2: Be sure to keep and bring the doctor a list of ALL the remedies you take.

  • Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the importance of keeping a list of all the remedies you take.
  • Include remedies that are available without a prescription.
  • Tell them about any type of allergies you have to medications.
  • Ask them about the risks of combining medications and other food products.
  • Always read the label and warnings for your medications.
  • Make sure you have been given the medicine your doctor has prescribed and that you know how to use it.
  • Ask the pharmacist if the medicine looks different than you expected.

Step 3: Make sure you get the results of any medical exams or tests done.

  • Ask your doctor or nurse when and how you will receive the results of the tests you have done.
  • Don’t assume everything is fine if you didn’t receive them when you expected.
  • Call your doctor and ask for your results — it’s your right.
  • Also, ask what the results mean regarding your medical condition.

Step 4: Talk to your doctor about which hospital is best for your health needs.

  • If you can choose from more than one hospital, ask your doctor which one offers the best care and best results for your condition.
  • Make sure you understand the instructions for the best follow-up care when you leave the hospital.

Step 5: Make sure you understand what will happen if you need to have surgery.

  • Make sure your doctor and surgeon agree on what will be done during the surgery. Remember that in many cases, the doctor and surgeon are not the same people.
  • Before your surgery, ask your doctor who will be responsible for your care while you are in the hospital.
  • Ask your surgeon what they will do to you, how long it will last, what will happen, and how you will feel after surgery.
  • Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologists, and nurses if you have allergies or if you have ever had an adverse reaction to anesthesia.
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