A report recently issued by the Government Accounting Office, GOA, confirms that hospitals continue to have a serious problem with patient safety. According to the report, about 98,000 people die every year, 20 people each hour in the United States, because of a preventable medical mistake. What may be most startling is that the report has not seemingly prompted action to resolve the many problems plaguing our medical facilities. In fact, the report seems to agree that there are safety concerns for patients and states that hospitals and medical facilities have not resolved the problems.
Medical Mistakes are Preventable
Medical mistakes are now considered the third most common cause of death in the United States. Medical errors include a variety of problems such as medication mistakes, surgical errors, diagnostic mistakes, infections, falls, and hand off problems. The sad truth is that these are serious problems that do not need to occur. They often do happen, however, for a number of reasons. Understaffing is one major reason why medical accidents occur. Care providers are busy and may not take the time necessary to provide proper care. Medical facilities may not provide enough training to employees, rendering them less than adequate.
According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 82% of adults in the U.S. take medications on a daily basis. Adverse drug events, ADE, cause approximately 700,000 hospital emergency room visits annually. Medication mistakes may happen because of an error made by a physician, pharmacist, or care provider. When a medication mistake occurs it can cause serious medical problems or even death. Medication mistakes include prescribing the incorrect medication or wrong dosage, providing a medication that has an adverse interaction with another drug, or someone administering the incorrect dosage of the medication.
Errors are all too common during surgery. The physician may make a mistake during a surgical procedure which could cause serious injury to the patient. The use of improperly cleaned instruments can cause an infection to occur after the procedure. Failure to properly supervise a patient during the recovery period may inhibit the healing process and could facilitate infection. Once an infection begins it can be quite difficult to treat, especially in individuals who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. Errors can also occur in hospitals and other facilities when there is miscommunication between medical staff members.
Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to properly care for patients. When they fail to provide adequate care they are responsible for injuries that may be suffered as a result. This is considered medical malpractice. Failure to diagnose a serious medical condition may also be considered neglectful. Hospitals and other medical facilities are required to ensure the safety of patients and are held liable when they are negligent. Those who were injured because of a medical mistake may be entitled to compensation for damages caused by the careless behavior. If you or a relative were hurt due to medical malpractice call the skilled legal team at Levin & Perconti for a consultation to schedule a consultation.
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