If you watch the news, you have probably heard of cases of medical malpractice in the past and present. Sometimes these cases are very serious, causing injuries and even death when severe enough. Many researchers have determined that medical errors may be responsible for many more deaths than expected – putting them at the third leading cause of death in the United States! This means that, right after heart disease and cancer, medical errors are one of the leading causes of many American deaths. Doctors estimate, at this point in time, that there are over 250,000 deaths each year due to medical malpractice alone.
What is most astounding about this is the simple fact that a similar study was conducted in the late 90s and it was determined that the number was closer to 98,000 people affected every year. The problem remains: Patient safety is not as high of a priority as many other aspects of the healthcare system, which is why more precautions must be put in place to protect patients. The records for medical errors have become a problem as well. A patient may die from one cause but it was actually another, which leads to results that are sometimes inaccurate and difficult to follow.
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When you are a patient at a hospital or medical center, you want to receive the best care possible for your ailments. However, even the doctors who are seen as the best in the country can make mistakes at times. The truth is, there are many warning signs that you can look out for. There are ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim, and rules you can follow when you have fallen victim, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Top Causes of Medical Error
Wrong Patient: In some cases, the staff may fail to verify the patient’s identity. This means that patients who have very similar names may be confused and be given the incorrect care. You can help prevent an incident like this by having the staff check your entire name and date of birth on your wristband.
Surgical Equipment Left Behind: Sometimes, surgical staff will leave behind medical equipment inside a patient. If you have experienced pain or fever after surgery, you may wonder if you have a surgical instrument still inside you. This is something to ask your treating physician about.
Lost Patient: Patients who have dementia could walk off before being noticed due to busy staff, which could cause them to die of hypothermia or dehydration. This is usually due to hospital or nursing home negligence.
Overcrowded Hospital: Emergency rooms may be backed up because there are not enough beds or staff for patients. This means that a patient could become more ill while they are waiting for care.
Air Bubbles: After a chest tube is removed, the hole in the chest may not be sealed properly. This means that blood supply could be cut off leading to the patient’s lungs, kidneys, and brain. The patient could die from this procedure.
Operating on Wrong Part: In some cases, a patient’s chart may be incorrect. The wrong side of a patient’s body could be operated on, so make sure that you determine the correct body part with the surgeon and nurse before they start.
Infection: Each year, patients die from inflections spread by hospital workers. Make sure that your doctor washes their hands before they touch you, even if they are wearing gloves.
Under-dose of Anesthesia: In some cases, a patient may be given too small of a dose of anesthesia, causing them to stay awake during surgery and feel poking and prodding. Ask your surgeon if you should be put asleep or if you can just have a local anesthetic instead.
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Each year, patients will become injured, ill, or even die as a result of medical error. This is why it is important to learn the seriousness of your case and how it can be prevented. However, errors will still occur even with preventative measures in place. This is why it is important to seek help from an experienced medical malpractice attorney to handle your case. Call us today.