We have all heard stories of the unexpected happening, of complications of treatment and sometimes the inability of a healthcare provider to handle such complications. Recent investigations into traumatic events in hospitals around the world have raised questions  about the capabilities of individuals providers, hospitals and clinics.

A European Clinic, popular among international patients and locals alike, is under scrutiny following the death of a child in 2010, only months after a 10 year old boy nearly died from a similar procedure. The 10 year old boy, was transferred from the clinic to the local University Hospital, for life saving emergency surgery, not possible at the clinic. The Chief of Neurosurgery at the University hospital, Dr. Sabel, has accused the clinic of failing to react quickly enough to when the 10 year old boy began to suffer internal bleeding.

Sad cases like this one raises some tough questions, and act as a strong reminder that medicine is not an exact science and there are risks and potential complications. This is not meant to scare anyone, but rather to encourage you to do your own due diligence when you are selecting a treatment center for yourself or a loved one.

Do you know the important questions to ask a potential healthcare provider?
Here are few helpful discussion points to review when deciding where you or a loved one should be treated:

  1.  What are the accreditations or standards that support the facility?
  2.  Is the facility a clinic or a full service-24 hour hospital?
  3. Do they have an ER? An onsite Lab and blood bank?
  4. What are the risks of the treatment? (tip: also, asks what the risks of no treatment are)
  5. Can they handle these risks within the facility or will you need to be transferred? If you must be transferred, ask How? How long will it take? Where will go you? Ask about that facility too? Do you trust this other facility to treat you? (Keep in mind, that a hospital is much more prepared to deal with the “what if’s” should they arise).
  6. Have they had adverse outcomes before? (It’s ok, if there are some – but take this opportunity to ask, how it was handled and what the final outcome was).

 It’s important to understand the ins and outs of the facility where you will be treated and how they handle the “what if’s”. It may be uncomfortable to think about the potential negative outcomes, but it may just save your life.

Understand why selecting the right healthcare provider is an important decision by reading Dr. Perez’s comments on “Because Cancer does not come alone“.