According to a survey done by Wolters Kluwer Health, almost 75 percent of Americans say they are concerned about medical errors and almost half say they are “very concerned.” The concern is not unjustified considering 30 percent of the people surveyed reported that they, or a loved one, have been a victim of a medical error and 20 percent report that have been misdiagnosed by their doctors.
Doctors, nurses, hospitals and emergency room staff make errors and those errors can have a catastrophic effect on their patients. Medical mistakes include prescribing the wrong medication or treatment, prescribing a medication that adversely reacts to another medication, providing the wrong dosage of medication and misdiagnosing illnesses.
When medical mistakes happen patient safety is at risk.
Causes of Medical Mistakes
The Wolters Klewyer Health survey asked 1,000 participants about their experiences with medical mistakes, why they think medical mistakes occur and what patients can do to help prevent medical errors. The participants identified many of the common causes of medical errors such as:
- Miscommunication between hospital staff
- Hospital understaffing
- Work overload
- Hospital staff fatigue
- Lack of proper sanitation
The survey also revealed that the majority of Americans have attempted to prevent medical errors by taking action. Those actions include validating a doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan by doing independent research or getting a second opinion.
While taking steps to validate a course of treatment or diagnosis may prevent some medical errors, it will not stop them all. If a medical error or misdiagnosis has caused you to suffer serious injuries or caused the wrongful death of someone you love, an attorney can help you protect your rights.
Source: equities.com, “Survey: Nearly One in Three Americans Report Experiencing Medical Mistakes, Either Themselves or Among Family and Friends,” August 15, 2012
Our firm handles cases like the one mentioned in this article. For more information, please visit our hospital negligence page.