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According to the Center for Disease Control, hospital mistakes cause nearly two million patients to develop preventable infections in United States hospitals every year. At least 90,000 of these victims will die as a result of their injuries. Hospital born infections were the sixth leading cause of death to American adults in 2004, falling not far behind heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Infections are just one of the potentially devastating damages that can result from hospital mistakes.
Preventable hospital mistakes result in significant patient injury, illness, or even death more often than most of us would like to think. When a doctor, hospital or other medical professional fails to exercise the level of care, skill, or prudence required to prevent patient injury, the professional's negligence or wrongdoing is considered medical malpractice. Through the civil tort system, a victim of medical malpractice has the right to seek compensation for their losses from the party responsible for the hospital mistakes.
Types of Common Hospital Mistakes
Hospital mistakes may involve prescription errors which can result in serious harm to the patient. The US Pharmacopoeia has received at least 360,000 reports of prescription errors in American hospitals since 1998. In 2001 alone, the agency received 2,000 reports of prescription errors in emergency rooms. These are only the prescription-related hospital mistakes that are reported. The most common medication errors are prescribing errors, omission errors, improper dosage errors, prescribing medications a patient is allergic to, and more. Approximately 7,000 Americans die every year as a result of preventable medication-related hospital mistakes.
Mistakes During Childbirth
Hospital mistakes can also be made during common medical procedures such as childbirth. Hospital mistakes caused when a medical professional's recklessness or negligence during childbirth can lead to wrongful death or lifelong injury and disability such as brain damage, Cerebral Palsy, Erb's Palsy, and more.
Hospital mistakes can sometimes be so severe that a surgery is performed on the wrong patient or at the wrong surgery site altogether. Preventable hospital mistakes during procedures can cause infections, delayed healing, brain damage, disfigurement, and other serious injuries. As of 2001, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations received at least 150 reports of gross hospital mistakes that involved wrong site surgery.
Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis
Hospital mistakes can also involve a failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of a patient's condition. This can prevent a patient from receiving the important treatment they need. Statistics indicate that 20 to 40 percent of all diagnoses made in emergency departments involve significant mistakes. When a patient's treatment is crucial or time sensitive, hospital mistakes can lead to serious injury or even death. Autopsy reports from one study indicated that 35 to 40 percent of the decedents had an incorrect or un-diagnosed condition that likely caused their death.
Contact an Attorney Near You
If you would like to learn more about hospital mistakes, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced medical malpractice attorney who can evaluate your case to determine your legal rights and options.
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