Complications resulting from hospital-based medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer. More often than not, these errors are easily preventable. From a legal perspective, medical errors fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice, which accounts for 15% of all personal injury cases in the United States. Be aware of these all-too-common medical errors and contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you or a loved one have been a victim of a medical mistake.
Mix-Ups In Medication
Every day, there is an estimated 1,000 preventable medication errors in hospitals. These mistakes typically occur when a patient gets the incorrect dose of medication during treatment. As an order for medication goes from a physician to a pharmacist and finally to a nurse who administers the drug, a mistake can easily happen and result in a serious medical mistake. Be sure that the hospital staff knows every medicine you take and that you write down exactly what kind of medication the doctor is prescribing during your stay. Then, verify that the nurse is administering the proper dose and drug.
Misuse Of Antibiotics
While the use of antibiotics doesn’t seem like it would be harmful, overuse of them can create bacteria that are extremely resistant. These bacteria then result in infections that are nearly impossible to treat, as they now won’t respond to antibiotics at all. Too many antibiotics also kill off good bacteria in your stomach, giving more opportunities for harmful bacteria to dominate. According to the CDC, up to 50% of patients receive antibiotics that they don’t need or the wrong ones. When a doctor wants to give you an antibiotic, make sure you ask questions about why you need it and what it is.
Falls are counted as medical errors because there are many steps hospitals can and should take to reduce the risk of falling. For those already injured or ill, falls can be extremely dangerous. They can cause broken bones or internal bleeding while extending your hospital stay. The staff should assess your fall risk when you’re admitted. You should also tell them about any drugs you take, as some medications can make you more prone to falling.
Whenever you’re in a hospital, you’re at risk for a medical error. When it comes to something as important as your health, you have the right to ask your doctor and/or medical staff about what actions they are choosing to take. If you don’t feel comfortable about their decisions or something seems concerning to you then do not be afraid to ask for a second opinion. Take the proper precautions during your stay and contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you or a loved one have fallen victim to medical negligence, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or any other form of medical malpractice.