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Safety hazards abound in hospitals, data shows

Safety hazards abound in hospitals, data shows

Illinois readers may be interested in data recently gathered from American hospitals that indicates some 400,000 deaths each year can be attributed to medical errors. These errors may include but are not limited to wrong-site surgeries, substandard post-operative care, fatal drug interactions and infections, according to authorities.

Nationwide, wrong-site surgeries occur approximately 40 to 60 times each week. The outcome can be catastrophic when surgeons perform on the wrong patient, on the wrong part of the patient’s body or using the wrong operation, authorities say.

Following surgery, patients are sometimes left in the care of inexperienced medical residents, who may not yet be adept at recognizing a patient’s deteriorating condition, according to authorities. This can be fatal if there is no system in place that provides on-going monitoring of the patient’s vital signs.

Sometimes, patients are administered the wrong medication, the wrong dosage of a medication or a medication that perilously interacts with prescription drugs the patients are already taking. While these drug-related mistakes can be deadly, they can also cause patient falls, authorities say. Evidence-based estimates indicate that hundreds of thousands of patients experience falls during their hospital stay each year.

Furthermore, infections acquired in hospitals account for thousands of deaths each year, authorities report. Purportedly, many of these infection-related cases involve patients who have required tubes placed in their bodies, such as central intravenous lines or a catheter.

According to authorities, communication between medical professionals and patients seems to be critical for reducing these disastrous mishaps. However, when patients do suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries on account of hospital-related errors, they may be eligible to pursue civil remedies. By retaining a medical malpractice attorney and filing suit, these victims may receive financial compensation for the damages they suffered.

Source: US News & World Report, “How to Survive Your Hospital Stay“, Lisa Esposito, June 03, 2014

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