Imagine, after years of chronic pain, being assured by your doctor that a knee replacement surgery will alleviate your discomfort and put a spring back in your step, but upon waking up in the hospital recovery room you realize that the surgery was performed on your good knee. Imagine that you are a young mother expecting triplets. When the time comes, you deliver three healthy baby girls, but while recuperating in the maternity ward, a nurse mistakenly administers an adult dose of morphine to one of your daughters instead of you, nearly killing her. With all of the education and training that medical professionals receive, it may seem like these types of hospital mistakes would be few and far between, but that isn’t the case.
Common Hospital Mistakes
When you have to go to the hospital, for yourself or someone you love, you don’t expect to have to worry about mistakes happening, but statistics show that you do. Though there are many more, some of the most common errors made in hospitals are:
How Common Are Hospital Mistakes?
It is hard to know exactly how often errors occur in hospitals, because many are not reported. It is estimated that less than 1% of medical errors are known to patients. It is known that 1 in 1500 abdominal surgeries result in a surgical sponge or tool being left inside a patient; and that over 1300 surgeries each year are performed on the wrong-side/wrong-site, or wrong-procedure/wrong-patient. Hospital-acquired infections affect 2.2 million people each year, and medication mistakes account for 7,000 deaths annually. These statistics are scary enough, but it is also estimated that 1 in 10 patients who die within the first 90 days after surgery die due to surgical errors. Looking at these numbers, it is
easy to see why it is estimated that 1 in 3 patients will be the victim of hospital negligence of some sort; and why a study done by the Journal of Patient Safety finds that 440,000 are losing their lives to it each year.
How do You Know if Your Hospital Made a Mistake?
Some medical mistakes are obvious, like the two cases in the beginning of this article, but sometimes it’s hard to determine whether or not your hospital has been truly negligent. Medical situations sometimes have bad outcomes, and a bad outcome is not the same as negligence. There are some indicators that mistakes have been made, and they are as follows:
What Should You Do Now?
Hospital negligence cases are complex and they require extensive legal and medical knowledge. If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by the negligence of a medical professional, it is important that you contact an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice and who maintains a medical doctor on staff, such as Ross Feller Casey. They will be able to help you determine if you have a case and how to proceed.
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