Medical errors sound like something that only occurs in movies or your worst nightmares, but they’re an unfortunate reality. Over 250,000 people die from preventable medical mistakes each year, according to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Millions of patients are harmed by drug-related errors each year. Medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the United States, which is unsettling because patients rely on doctors to save them.
Even top-rated hospitals in the country have been responsible for medical malfunctions. Here are the top five most common medical errors.
Errors in diagnosis are one of the most common medical mistakes. An incorrect diagnosis can result in unnecessary medical treatment, which will harm you. Misdiagnosis often results in a delay in proper treatment, resulting in aggravated sickness and prolonged suffering.
2. Medication Errors
Medication errors are one of the most common mistakes that can occur during treatment. Some doctors accidentally prescribe the wrong dose of medication to their patients, mislabel the medication bottle, or fail to warn the patient about the potential side effects of medication. Prescribers and caregivers are responsible for reviewing a patient’s medical history to avoid giving a patient a lethal drug combination.
Don’t let the smell of hand sanitizer and latex gloves fool you, as the risk of infection is present at every hospital. According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), 1.7 million people are affected by hospital-acquired infections every year. Most hospital-acquired infections are caused by pneumonia, bacteria around the surgery site, urinary infections from catheters, and bloodstream infections from IVs. Several of these infections involve bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, making these infections deadly. People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, are most susceptible to falling victim to hospital-acquired infections. The CDC estimates over 100,000 deaths are caused by preventable hospital infections each year.
Every year, 500,000 patients collapse while being inside the hospital, according to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Worst of all, one-third of these accidents occur due to malfunctioning medical devices. There’s always the possibility a patient’s peacemaker might break, or that someone’s hip implants will suddenly stop working. Patients who are loopy from medication risk slipping on wet surfaces, which can result in injuries. Doctors need to remind patients they shouldn’t be walking around the hospital if they’re still recovering from medication.
5. Being Sent Home Too Early
Some doctors make the mistake of sending their patients home too early, which is harmful to a patient’s recovery and can even be deadly. It’s a doctor’s responsibility to make sure the patient understands their discharge information, and to schedule any follow-up appointments the patient may need. If a patient has a caregiver, the doctor must also explain the discharge information to the patient’s caregiver. Hospitals that provide clear discharge instructions to their patients have lower readmission rates.
Although there are risks associated with staying at a hospital, this doesn’t mean you should skip out on any necessary surgeries or doctor’s appointments. If you fall victim to medical malpractice, you can hold negligent hospital staff accountable.
Work with a personal injury attorney to collect the compensation you deserve. Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton today.