Taking Steps to Avoid Hospital Mistakes

Opened First Aid Kit

Opened First Aid Kit

When you visit a hospital in San Diego for a routine procedure, you should not have to worry about sustaining a serious injury as a result of medical negligence. However, medical mistakes happen much more often than any of us would like to think. According to a recent article in Yahoo! Finance, up to as many as 440,000 people in the United States suffer fatal injuries every year because of hospital mistakes. In addition to those deaths, it is likely that around 722,000 American develop preventable infections while they are staying at a hospital, and around 75,000 of those infections turn out to be fatal. Yet, as the article points out, we can take steps to prevent some of the harms associated with common hospital errors.

Preventing Falls at the Hospital

You might not think immediately of a fall-related injury when you think about a medical error, yet falls in a hospital setting often result from medical negligence. Hospitals need to take steps to ensure that patients do not slip and fall and that they have the proper equipment to move around the facility without getting hurt. According to the article, about one million American patients suffer falls every year when they are in the hospital, and the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that about one-third of those falls are preventable.

Given that falls can result in serious injuries such as broken bones or traumatic brain injuries, patients should consider ways to protect themselves. What can you do to help ensure that you do not suffer a fall-related injury? You should be sure to tell the hospital staff about any and all medications that could impact your likelihood of suffering a fall. In addition, you should be proactive about asking for help if you believe you might need assistance.

Avoiding Dangerous Medication Errors

There are many different types of medication errors that can happen at the hospital, including but not limited to:

  • Wrong medicine prescribed or taken;
  • Wrong amount of medication prescribed or taken;
  • Overmedication; and
  • Medication prescribed that cannot be taken with patient’s current drug regimen.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 50% of all hospital patients receive antibiotics, and approximately “1,000 preventable medication errors occur in hospitals each day.” As the National Patient Safety Foundation’s president and CEO explained, “there are many opportunities for a medication order to go wrong—it goes from a physician, to a pharmacist, then to a nurse to administer it—and a mistake can happen somewhere along that chain.”

What can you do, as a patient, to help prevent a medication error? You should always ask your doctor what medication is being prescribed and why. You should also ensure that your physician and other hospital staff know the medications you currently take to avoid a dangerous drug interaction. Do not forget to mention any dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications, since these, too, can impact a prescription medication. It is also important to seek written instructions for taking the medication you are prescribed.

If you or a loved one recently suffered a serious injury as a result of medical negligence, you should discuss your case with an experienced San Diego medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Walton Law Firm today.

See Related Blog Posts:
Medical Errors and Electronic Recordkeeping
What Should You Know About Medical Errors?

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