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Questions for North Carolina patients to ask their doctors

While it is easy to assume that a doctor knows what he or she is doing, the truth is that there are risks inherent in any surgical procedure, and the possibility of adverse effects from medication errors is greater than one might think. With that in mind, here are some things that a doctor won't necessarily tell a patient unless he or she specifically asks about them.

If a patient has a surgery on a Friday afternoon, he or she may be at a higher risk because the doctor may not be available at a moment's notice during overnight or weekend hours. It may also be worthwhile to try to schedule a procedure before or after the month of July since that is when new medical residents begin taking care of their patients. It is reported that errors increase by 10 percent during that month.

Any doctor should understand that surgery is risky and there is a chance of complication. A doctor who is not willing to release his or her rate of complications during a surgery and how that compares to the national average is a doctor whom a patient may not want to work with. One more thing to understand about doctors is that they hesitate to recommend "heroic" measures when it comes to treating terminal or close to terminal illnesses. When a treatment plan is proposed, it is important to understand how it may increase both the quality and longevity of life; likewise, when a doctor doesn't advise one, it may be because it has little chance of succeeding while diminishing the quality of one's last days.

Although many patients don't want to come across as nags, it is important to ask questions. In the event that a doctor won't or can't tell a patient if a diagnosis is correct or the medication being taken is correct, it could be grounds for medical malpractice if complications ensue. It may the be worthwhile to hire a medical malpractice attorney who can pursue action in court.

Source: Care2, "5 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You Unless You Ask", Ann Pietrangelo, August 05, 2014

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