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Patients in Florida’s hospitals can do a few things to prevent a medical error. As a Miami lawyer who sues hospitals for medical mistakes, I believe that there needs to be a concerted effort between both health-care providers and patients to help reduce errors.

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The “Speak Up” program sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations recommends:

1. Do not to be embarrassed when speaking to doctors or nurses if you do not understand what you are being told.

2. Do not be afraid to point out errors in your history or chart. For instance, speak up if a doctor writes an incorrect note or marks the wrong side of your body for surgery.

3. Do not hesitate to tell nurses if they are confusing you with the wrong patient.

4. Do not hesitate to insist that a health-care providers clean their hands before they touch you. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your bedside to clean your hands after using the bathroom, touching doors or getting diagnostic tests.

5. Insist on reviewing your records periodically for mistakes and always obtain a copy of them at discharge for your primary care doctor to review, even when your treatment is minor.