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Prevent Medical Errors

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Prevent Errors During Surgery

Before you have surgery, be sure that you and all your doctors know what is going to happen. Ask about:

  • Your surgeon's experience. You may get better results if your surgeon has done a lot of operations.
  • When you'll have your surgery. Your surgical team may be more alert in the morning.
  • How to prepare for the surgery. Ask your doctor if you have to stop taking any medicines or stop eating or drinking before the surgery. Ask your surgeon to mark your skin in advance to point to the correct area for surgery. It's rare that surgery is done on the wrong part of the body, but it can happen.
  • What to do after surgery. Ask about medicines you may need after surgery and what you need to do at home. Ask about what you can or can't eat and how to take care of surgical cuts (incisions). Ask when you need to call for help.

Be sure to tell your doctors:

  • Whether you have ever had a bad reaction to anesthesia. Anesthesia is the medicine you get before your surgery to make you sleep or feel relaxed and help with pain.
  • Whether you take any vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies.
  • Whether you have an advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one so your doctor knows your health care wishes.
  • If you get a cold, fever, flu, or other illness close to your surgery date.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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