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If you or a loved one are about to enter a hospital for surgery then keep in mind that your health care is only as strong as the weakest link.

Once entering a hospital you will quickly learn that there are many people who take part in your health care. And while the vase majority of these individuals are competent and caring, the shear number of participants can create problems. Every nurse that cares for you relies upon the notes and actions of the nurse on the shift before her. The attending physician relies on the actions of the fellow, who relies on the resident, who relies on the intern.

There is a long list of people who will be involved in your health care. It is critical that each of them provide you competent care on a consistent basis. Often malpractice claims arise because one member of the team failed to take certain action or simply wasn’t paying attention.

It is always important to be an active participant in your health care. Press to have the same nurses and interns treating you–they will understand your situation better if they work with you consistently during your hospitalization.

And be leery of anyone that you suspect isn’t paying close enough attention to you or your loved one. You may have the greatest surgeon in the world caring for you, but if she is relying on an incorrect nursing note, trouble could be ahead.

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