Good Medicine

Hospitals make mistakes. What to ask when taking charge of your treatment

An old saw says a hospital can be a dangerous place for a healthy person. Horror stories abound, from infectious bacteria lurking on every surface to medications mistakenly administered. If dangers like these make you worried, relax. From a simple procedure to more elaborate surgery, a few precautions can ensure a safe visit. You just need to know what to look for.

Take, for example, mistakes with medications. In 2002 about 500 hospitals and health-care facilities across the country reported almost 200,000 mistakes in prescribing and dispensing medicine, according to the United States Pharmacopeia, the organization that sets standards for prescription...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!