Unfortunately, there are times that a hospital stay can compound medical problems and cause more harm. Inadequate safety and quality can lead to serious and even fatal mistakes.
The statistics for hospital malpractice are startling:
- Each year, up to 250,000 patients die from hospital mistakes, injuries, accidents and infections.
- One out of 25 patients develop an avoidable infection while hospitalized.
- Medicare patients have a 1 in 4 chance of suffering injury, harm, or death while in the hospital.
- Over 1,000 people die from a preventable hospital error every day.
Patients can play a role in addressing safety and assuring quality. Safety is related to lack of harm and avoiding bad events. Quality is related to efficient and effective care that assure that treatment is completed at the right time.
Patients who witness hospital errors should speak to hospital staff immediately, especially someone close to their care like a nurse. Otherwise, report the incident to any available staff member.
Be respectful but assertive while discussing the error. Provide the opportunity for the caregiver to quickly resolve the situation.
When mistakes happen to you, speak to a responsible hospital employee who can look into and resolve the problem. Express your expectations of receiving a response and that the hospital will address your concerns.
You or a relative should pursue complaint with the hospital’s customer service, patient advocacy or patient relations staff if you do not receive an answer during your hospital stay or shortly after your discharge. If you are uncomfortable speaking directly to a practitioner or staff member in your care unit, seek out a neutral party who can help you contact someone else.
Also, use any established system for reporting errors or problems. These include a hospital hot line, suggestion box or patient ombudsman.
Attorneys can help you determine whether hospital negligence caused injuries or illness. They can assist you with filing a malpractice lawsuit.