Believe it or not, hospital errors are among the most deadly threats to patients who become ill in the United States. In fact, the equivalent of 390 large jets packed with people die annually in the US because of preventable medical errors in a hospital setting.
A recent study by healthcare quality oversight company HealthGrades found that between 2000 and 2002 alone, nearly 200,000 people died annually due to hospital errors. This is nearly double what an Institute of Medicine study found for the year 1999, indicating that the number of deaths due to hospital errors is either on the rise or was grossly underreported in the initial study.
Nonetheless, far too many people are dying or suffering at the very hands of those charged with their care. Hospital errors can take many different forms, ranging from the performance of surgery on the wrong person or body part, to the failure of medical staff to prevent infection in hospital in-patients.
Hospital errors that are caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of a medical professional are grounds for legal action on behalf of the victim, who can seek to recover their losses and suffering. If you or a loved one has suffered because of hospital errors, please contact our qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can evaluate your case to determine the best way to help. Please read on to learn about the common types of hospital errors.
Surgical errors often have dire consequences. Common types of surgical hospital errors can range from post-operative infections to wrong site surgery. Poor pre-operative planning, inadequate communication between medical professionals and with patients, substandard surgical practices, lack of hygienic procedures and other factors can all cause or contribute to surgical errors.
Anesthesia errors, which often take place during surgery can also have fatal repercussions. Anesthesiologists and related professionals have a duty to closely monitor the patient's health and vital signs before, during and after surgery and ensure their safety during the procedure. Failure to do so can result in serious harm to the patient.
Prescription drug errors in hospitals are a serious problem responsible for thousands of fatalities every year. An estimated 100,000 patients are the victims of medication-related hospital errors annually. Medication errors can occur in the following circumstances:
- A doctor orders a medicine for a patient with a known allergy to such drugs
- The wrong dose or type of medication is given
- Medication is given at the wrong interval
- A doctor prescribes a drug known to be contraindicated for the patient
- A patient is given someone else’s medicine
- Multiple medications are given and produce a reaction that should have been anticipated and avoided.
- A patient suffers any preventable suffering involving medications while under the care of medical professionals
Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose
Misdiagnosis, including cancer misdiagnosis, is an alarmingly common type of hospital error which can significantly threaten patient health. When a doctor fails to adhere to proper medical standards by failing to conduct adequate testing and follow through in determining a proper diagnosis, they can be held accountable for a patient’s losses as a result of this misdiagnosis.
ER and ICU Errors
Of all hospital errors, those that occur in the Emergency Room and the Intensive Care Unit are often the most dangerous. Sadly, these medical departments are also among those with the highest rates of medical mistakes. Possible ER and ICU errors are many but common types of hospital errors in these departments include IV errors, infection, misdiagnosis, medication errors and surgical mistakes.
Infection and preventable disease
Infection is a dire—and strikingly common—consequence of hospital errors. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 1.7 million patients develop infections in hospitals every year. Of these nearly 100,000 people die annually because of infections that are often caused by hospital errors or negligence.
Birth injuries are another common result of hospital errors during pregnancy and delivery. A birth injury is any harm that is caused to the baby during pregnancy, labor, delivery or post-delivery. These can range from mild and temporary, such as cranial bruising due to aggressive labor techniques, to serious and permanent, such as cerebral palsy.
To learn more about hospital errors and your legal rights, please contact our qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorneys who can evaluate your case free of charge to help you determine the best way to proceed and get the help and compensation you deserve.