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Medical Mistakes Blamed in 200,000 Deaths a Year

A recent investigation by the Hearst Company has drawn attention to the fact that approximately 200 thousand Americans will die this year from preventable medical errors and hospital infections. Currently 20 states have no medical error reporting system in place, five have voluntary ones and five more are developing reporting systems. Even in the 20 states that have the mandatory systems, hospitals report only a tiny percentage of their mistakes, standards vary wildly and enforcement is often nonexistent. The report also blames special interests for blocking progress in the area of medical reporting. A news medical correspondent described some of the most common medical miscues and offered advice to help keep one from being a victim of medical malpractice.

– Make sure surgeons personally sign or initial the skin of the patient over the area that’s being operated on; patients should remind all surgical personnel about the side and site of the procedure – Patient’s should ask what every single medication is that they’re given while in the hospital and remind everyone who approaches them with drugs of any allergies they have – Always look the surgeon in the eye before the operation to avoid any possibility of mistaken identity.

Communication is the greatest key to preventing medical errors which are oftentimes caused by – Poor documentation – Illegible handwriting – Sleep deprivation – Improper nurse to patient ratios
To read more about the medical mistake survey, please click the link.

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