These days it seems there is always a story in the news about a patient dying due to medical negligence or error. Unfortunately, a new report estimates that 1 in 10 patients are harmed when receiving medical care at some point in their lifetime. This statistic is huge and sheds light on just what a serious problem medical malpractice is in the United States. This same report also indicates that the majority are preventable medical mistakes and errors that could be avoided.
Simply knowing that medical malpractice is rampant in America isn’t enough. It is important for us to continue to raise awareness and give patients the knowledge and power to protect themselves. Whether you are in the hospital for a routine procedure or are undergoing surgery, you assume the medical team charged with your care will do everything in their power to help you. It can be incomprehensible to sustain an injury or lose a loved one because of medical negligence, but it happens.
There are numerous actions that can lead to medical errors, but the following are the most common:
- Patient falls
- Failure to provide treatment
- Wrong-site surgery
- Leaving a foreign object in the patient during surgery
- Medication errors
- Burns, drownings, or chokings while under the supervision of a medical team
Why Are Hospitals So Deadly?
Nearly 100,000 Americans die every single year as a result of medical errors, and 12 percent of all preventable errors lead to permanent disability. If you are surprised by these numbers, you aren’t alone. It is only natural to put our trust in doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. But reports continue to show that patient safety is a serious problem. As the rate of preventable errors continues to rise, it is time health care facilities are held accountable. Furthermore, it is important for patients to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from harm – or worse.
There are several different schools of thought as to why medical negligence is such a problem right now. Understaffing, failure to adequately train, distraction, and downright negligence all play a role.
How can I protect myself from preventable medical errors?
The last thing anyone expects when they go to the doctor or hospital is that they will leave in worse shape than when they came. Some of the ways you can prevent medical errors include:
- Make sure you understand the procedure and medications your doctor is suggesting.
- Talk to your doctor and medical staff about any allergies, health conditions, and medications you are currently taking.
- Be transparent and ask questions.
- Have someone with you as a “second set of ears.”
- Track the medications you are on and any results or side effects.
- Do your research.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up.
The bottom line is that you need to be in control of your medical care. Simply assuming the doctor and his or her staff has everything under control can be a recipe for disaster. If you aren’t comfortable with the care you are receiving or don’t understand something, pump the brakes. The last thing you want is to become another statistic.
If you find yourself the victim of medical malpractice in Texas, please contact Wormington & Bollinger today.