Hospital errors are quite prevalent in America. Hundreds of thousands of patients suffer needless harm from this under-reported epidemic. Each year, there are more than 400,000 premature deaths associated with preventable harm in hospitals, according to an article in Journal of Patient Safety. Medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in America, reports CNN.
Reasons for Hospital Errors
Many factors contribute to hospital errors, most of which are preventable. In an article in the Journal of Patient Safety, John T. James, Ph.D., states, “The portion of adverse events that are deemed preventable tends to be about 50 to 60 percent; however, recently, experts have postulated that virtually all adverse events they identified with the [patient harms associated with hospital care] are preventable.” The key word in that statement is “all.”
A few of the most common causes of hospital errors are listed below.
- Lack of adequate procedures and protocols that help deter mishaps
- Staff not heeding hospital procedures
- Inadequate diagnostic tools
- Inadequate training
- A rushed, chaotic environment
- Poor staff-to-staff and staff-to-patient communication
- Failure to fact check, identify the patient, read patient’s history, etc.
- Not having a “time out” prior to surgery
- Staff that are overworked or under the influence of drugs
Types of Hospital Errors
There are numerous types of errors hospitals make. Diagnosis errors are common. Wrong or late diagnoses can cause serious harm to the patient. For instance, a woman in her 50s went to several hospitals for recurring chest pain. All failed to diagnose her condition – spinal cord compression. Because it was undiagnosed for so long, she is now a paraplegic, cites TIME.
Below are other examples of mistakes made at hospitals.
- Treating the wrong patient
- Various surgery errors
- Prescribing wrong medications or making dosage errors
- Operating on the wrong patient or body part
- Leaving objects inside patients after surgery
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Transmission of diseases through improperly sterilized equipment and other means of propagating hospital-acquired diseases
- Poor wound care leading to infection
- Losing dementia-prone patients
- Birth and delivery mistakes
- Prematurely releasing a patient
Damages Caused by Hospital Negligence
The ramifications of a hospital mistake can be devastating and deadly. For instance, when a surgeon makes operates on the wrong body part, the original health condition still will be unremedied – plus, it will create new medical issues that can be tragic, e.g., a mastectomy on the wrong breast.
Patients harmed due to hospital negligence may be able to file a claim to pursue a financial settlement for their damages. The first step in taking legal action is to consult a medical malpractice attorney to review your case and ensure your situation meets all the elements necessary to win a malpractice claim.
Our team handles malpractice cases throughout the state, and we are dedicated to helping wronged patients obtain the financial restitution they deserve from negligent hospitals. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation at 855-529-0269.