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Medical errors in hospitals may be more common than you think

Having a loved one in a hospital can be a frightening time, especially if your loved one’s health condition is serious. Albany residents should be able to rest assured that the hospital will take good care of their loved one. However, this does not always happen. The following are frequent medical mistakes that could lead to the loss of life in a hospital.

The statistics on hospital errors

The statistics on medical mistakes made in hospitals are grim. According to a Johns Hopkins study, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. In fact, over the past eight years 10% of all fatalities in the U.S. — that is, 250,000 fatalities — were due to medical mistakes. These statistics are indeed troubling.

Common errors made in hospitals

One of the more common medical mistakes made in hospitals are charting errors. A mistake on a patient’s chart can lead to serious consequences. A medical allergy might go unnoticed, or a misdiagnosis could occur. This could lead to a worsened medical condition. Hospital acquired infections are also frequent. Hospitals must continually sterilize their premises and ensure cross-contamination does not occur. The failure to take these steps could cause a patient to suffer a hospital acquired infection such as pneumonia, surgical infections and urinary tract infections.

Physician miscommunication can also lead to serious errors. These days many people see multiple doctors and depending on the circumstances they may not know which doctor they will be seeing when they check into the hospital. A lack of direct communication between doctors can lead to medical mistakes such as repeated tests or unnecessary procedures. Many also end up dealing with a misdiagnosis. Just because medical technology has advanced does not mean physicians are infallible. Annually, anywhere between 40,000 to 80,000 patients in the U.S. lose their lives due to a misdiagnosis.

Finally, there are “never events.” Never events are medical errors that should never happen but do. Some examples of never events include wrong-site surgery, leaving a foreign object in the body during surgery and unnecessary medical procedures. In the U.S. around 4,000 surgeries end up with never events and according to one study over the past 20 years 71% of never events resulted in fatalities.

Learn more about medical malpractice in Georgia

While we expect to go to the hospital to be cured when we are seriously ill or injured, sometimes medical mistakes may cost us our health or even our lives. Those in Georgia who want to learn more about medical malpractice may find our firm’s website to be a useful source of information.