Unfortunately, medical-malpractice occurs more often than we think. Infections, falls, prescription foul-ups, surgical mistakes, and patient identity errors sometimes often do more damage than the ailment that originally led you or your loved one to the doctor, hospital, or nursing home. Because of the complexity of medical-malpractice cases, their extremely high costs, and the stout legal protections that health-care institutions enjoy, you should take immediate action to preserve your legal rights or those belonging to your family. If you believe or know you (or your family member) have been the victim of a medical error, ask the doctor, nurse, or nursing-home administrator what went wrong. Ask for a meeting with the hospital or nursing home administration. Take a trusted friend, pastor, or other family member with you to get an explanation about what happened, when it happened, and why it happened. Write a follow-up letter to the hospital administrator setting out your version of events. Ask the administrator to respond in writing. If your parent or loved one is not capable of doing these things for himself or herself, you will have to have a power of attorney to obtain any information about what happened to them. Don't take too long to act, because the time period for bringing medical-negligence cases is very short.