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What should I ask a doctor before accepting a treatment plan?

As a patient, the last thing you ever want to hear is that something went wrong with your treatment. An error could mean years of recovery, lasting pain or irreversible injuries. To help prevent injuries, it's a good idea to look into questions to ask your doctor. By being your own advocate, you can help eliminate the risk of injuries.

The first question you want to ask is what operation you're being offered, why and if there are alternative options. For example, there may be a surgery to remove cancerous skin cells, but you could also have other options for treatment that would not require an invasive surgery.

It's a good idea to talk to your doctor about why he or she is recommending the specific treatment plan and why alternatives would be less effective. If they would not be, it may be a better choice to seek out an alternative plan.

Whenever you have a surgery, you need to know the risk of complications and the potential complications that could occur. For example, the above surgery could result in scarring or disfigurement. Going under with anesthesia can lead to memory loss and other side effects that have the potential to last for a long period of time. Your doctor needs to be clear about the potential risks that you face if you decide to move forward with the treatment plan.

It is your doctor's responsibility to make sure you know what you need to do about a surgery to be educated and to make an appropriate decision for your health. Your attorney can help you fight for compensation if you're injured and did not get the medical care you deserved.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, "Questions to Ask Before Surgery," accessed June 13, 2017

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