Hospitals are designed to be a place of healing. The last thing that a patient thinks about when walking into the doors of one is whether they are going to contract a deadly virus or disease. Yet patients in New York may feel a little differently after hearing about a case of hospital negligence that happened in Buffalo.
When you make the decision to go to the hospital to receive treatment for a serious condition, the last thing that you hope for is to return to that hospital within days of your release because of a mistake made on the part of the hospital. Yet these kinds of events happen more often than you may realize and, when they do, it is important to hold that hospital responsible.
In continuation of our topic last week on common medical mistakes; an anesthesiologist and critical care physician at Johns Hopkins recently said that medical mistakes are likely the 'third leading cause of death' in this country. These mistakes are largely avoidable and there are a number of strategies medical facilities can adopt to help doctors and nurses avoid these mistakes.
Every now and then the media reports on a shocking medical mistake that really makes you wonder. When we put our trust in a doctor to make us feel better by fighting a deadly disease such as cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition, we want to know we are in good hands. But according to a recent report from an internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, mistakes are happening every day and in every hospital across the country, including those in New York City. In fact, medical mistakes or errors result in the deaths of more than 250,000 patients every year in the United States, and millions more are injured.
A program currently being pushed by the Obama administration would give patients the opportunity to report medical mistakes they may have experienced while receiving care by hospitals, nurses, doctors and pharmacists.
In a data-driven society, it gets harder and harder for hospitals to avoid unpleasant truths about adverse events that harm patients.
A frequent cause of hospital errors is poor communication between staff members. When patients are constantly shuttled from one department to another, or from one caregiver to another, the chance of miscommunication keep increasing. And far too often, the result of that miscommunication is medical errors.
Hospitals are supposed to help people get well, not get sicker. But avoidable medical mistakes and failure to follow, and enforce, simple common sense sanitary and safety precautions, on medical and other staff, continue to present a real threat to the health and safety of patients.