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Is it a good idea to keep a journal or take notes during a hospital stay?

Painter Law Firm's frequently asked question (FAQ) series

Is it a good idea to keep a journal or take notes during a hospital stay?


One of the first things that we ask new Texas medical malpractice clients is whether they took any notes during the hospitalization or care in question. Our team at Painter Law Firm finds them to be a useful source of evidence to fill in gaps in the medical records or to rebut documentation that’s just flat out wrong.

Beyond the use in litigation, though, keeping a hospitalization journal has some clear health care-related benefits.

• Some doctors and nurses are better than others at transferring information, pending tests, and test results to new shifts of providers. Use a journal to note when a test is ordered, so you can follow up and ask for the results and what they mean. This helps ensure that important information doesn’t fall through the cracks. Write down things that your doctor or nurse tell you, so you can fill in the blanks for new people who get involved in your care.

• Document in your journal how you feel and your basic vital signs when you enter the hospital and any time that something changes. If a monitor sounds an alarm, note that, too.

• Have you ever had an important meeting or appointment where you wanted to have some questions answered, but forgot them when the time arrived? A journal is a good place to jot down questions.

As a former hospital administrator, and now as a long-time Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I believe that there’s nothing more powerful in health care than informed patients who are involved with and advocate for their own health care. Keeping your own records of your care in a journal is another tool in your health care belt.

If you’ve been seriously injured by poor hospital, physician, surgeon, or nursing care in Texas, then contact an experienced, top-rated Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential case.

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.

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