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How can I ensure my doctor will perform surgery safely?

Unfortunately, since you are often unconscious at the time of a surgical operation in Florida, there is very little, if anything, you can do in the moment to protect yourself from a surgery error. However, there are steps you can take beforehand to help ensure your operation goes smoothly and you are protected from unnecessary harm.

First, consider shopping around; not necessarily for price, though this might also be important, but for a doctor who best fits your needs. If you have a complex medical condition, it may not be best to put your life in the hands of a new surgeon with very little experience handling your particular type of case. Therefore, be thorough in your search for a surgeon and be sure to ask lots of questions that address your concerns.

One tool to help you search for a great doctor is the practitioner profile page on the Florida Department of Health's website. By utilizing this tool, you can find doctors and assess their education credentials, training, and practice. Also, you can find out whether or not a doctor has been hit with disciplinary action or if he or she has had any negligence or medical malpractice claims filed against him or her. This is a great way to get a feel for which doctors can perform your operation safely and competently.

It is almost always stressful to go in for surgery. At a time when you should be thinking about getting better, you should not have to worry about your doctor making your medical condition worse. Yet, it is a sad reality that patients many times must do all they can to protect themselves. However, they should find comfort in the fact that, should something go wrong, the legal system is there to help them at least try to collect some compensation.

Source: Florida Department of Health, "Practitioner Profile," accessed on Sept. 5, 2014

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