Hospital errors can be a frightening thing. Although you may go to a hospital or doctor for help when you or a loved one is ill or injured, in cases of medical negligence and error, you could end up in worse condition than before your visit.
A report by the Institute of Medicine mentions estimates from previous studies that preventable medical errors could result in at least 44,000 deaths every year and as many as 98,000. What's more, according to a study published in 2011 in Health Affairs, common methods used to track patient safety are prone to failure. In fact, such methods failed to detect 90 percent of errors, according to the study.
There are many types of medical mistakes that can lead to patient injury or harm. Whether these are the result of negligence, poor training, fatigue or understaffing, they can have serious repercussions and may require further medical care and surgery, or even cause death if left untreated.
Common instances of hospital errors and medical negligence include:
- Wrong diagnosis – If a physician or medical professional diagnosed a patient’s condition or illness incorrectly, it can pose a serious danger. The patient will not receive necessary treatment and could receive treatment that may worsen the condition or cause other complications.
- Delayed diagnosis – In some cases, the doctor will not diagnose the condition in a timely manner. This delay in diagnosis could in turn delay much needed treatment and could allow the condition to worsen.
- Medication errors – Doctors and hospital staff may make errors when administering medication. They may give a patient the wrong dosage, incorrectly administer it, or even prescribe something that has an adverse interaction with another medication.
- Childbirth injuries – Hospital errors may not always be to blame for birth injuries, but some possible errors include: incorrect use of birthing instruments, failure to recognize fetal distress, or improper care while the child is in the womb or during labor and delivery.
- Anesthesia errors – Hospital errors related to anesthesia may include incorrect dosage or failure to address possible adverse reactions and allergies.
- Surgery errors – Surgical errors may include leaving tools in the patient's body and operating on the wrong body part.
- Patient mix-up – Unlikely as it sounds, some patients are confused for others. Doctors may perform surgery on the wrong patient or administer treatment or medication to a person who doesn’t need it.
- Infection – A doctor or nurse’s failure to wash his or her hands or provide a clean, sanitary environment for a patient can lead to serious, even life-threatening infections. Patients with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable.
- Lab errors – Errors by staff in hospital labs can also pose a serious risk to patients. Incorrect readings of MRIs or X-rays, misplaced blood samples or poorly interpreted test results can lead to patients receiving the wrong treatment or not being correctly diagnosed.
- Pharmacy errors – If a pharmacist reads a prescription incorrectly, dispenses the wrong dosage or mixes up patient prescriptions, it can lead to dangerous drug interactions and improper treatment
Getting Legal Help After Medical Negligence
Were you the victim of one of these types of errors? Learn about filing a successful malpractice claim in this FREE Ohio medical malpractice guide or call (216) 241-1901 or 440-333-3800 to speak to a Cleveland malpractice attorney at Mellino Robenalt LLC about the hospital errors you suffered.