How to Prevent Medical Mistakes

Trust your instincts. If you have questions about a lab result, diagnosis or treatment, speak up. And be persistent. After you have a lab test or diagnostic image, call your doctor to make sure he received the results. Don’t worry about hurting your doctor’s feelings. This is about you.

Choose wisely. The doctor you pick is only the first member of a team of specialists
involved in your care. She’ll likely assemble the rest of the team, so finding the right doctor is doubly important. So, too, is the hospital you choose. There are no guarantees, but usually, the better the hospital, the better the team.

Read the label. Many lab mix-ups start in your doctor’s office. When giving a blood or other specimen, ask the nurse, politely, to show you the identification sticker to make sure it’s accurate.

Do it again. If a lab
result is unexpected or alarming, your doctor may have you retested. If he doesn’t, ask him about a do-over.

Carry a medical passport. A summary of your vital health information is a must. It should list diseases, medications and doses, food and drug allergies, and phone numbers of your physician and nearest relative. Take it with you to every doctor you see — even the radiologist.

Be a pack rat. Keep copies of all lab reports, x-rays, MRIs and CT scans, plus names and addresses of your MDs.

Get a second opinion. It’s crucial to your health. If a diagnosis
requires surgery, chemotherapy or medications with side effects, find another specialist (call the hospital’s referral service for help), and send him all your pathology and radiology lab work for review, both the images and reports. When you get the second opinion, make sure you understand it. If not, talk to the doctor until you do.

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.