People are dying in the hospital--and not necessarily because of the illness or disease that brought them in. Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported medical errors as the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient identification mix-ups are often to blame for these unfortunate errors.
Most in Queens may assume that their being discharged from the hospital is a sign that the worst of their medical ordeals is over. However, the execution of one's discharge may have a direct influence on his or her potential for recovery. Statistics seem to back this idea up. Information shared by the AARP Bulletin shows that of a sample of Medicare patients hospitalized for surgery, 50 percent had either died or been readmitted within a year.
For the most part, the care that patients receive in hospitals and medical centers both in New York City and throughout the rest of the U.S. is top notch, delivered by skilled caregivers who understand the most up-to-date medical practices. Yet even the best clinicians may not be able to provide adequate care if they do not have all of the information regarding a patient’s case. In fact, poor communication between healthcare providers ranks as one of the most common causes of medical errors.
Those seeking treatment at healthcare facilities in Queens likely have the expectation that not only are the environments in which they are cared for clean and sterilized, but that those who will be working with them practice good hygiene, as well. Some may point to statistics recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing decreases in the number of healthcare-associated infections across the board as proof that these are ceasing to become a concern for patients in the U.S. Yet the fact remains that 721,800 patients still contract infections while receiving treatment in America.
Most in Queens may agree that while modern healthcare has turned what once may have been considered life-threatening scenarios into very treatable outcomes, there may still be medical cases that may have no answer. However, for the family and friends of those patients who suffer sudden and seemingly inexplicable failures in their health, that may not be an easy answer to accept. If medical evidence seems to point to the possibility that fatal outcomes may have been prevented had early warning signs been recognized, then the desire to hold those who missed such signs accountable may be understandable.
When you go to the hospital in New York City, you likely do so believing that you will be safe. Yet simply because care services are rendered at hospitals and medical centers does not necessarily mean that they are safe. In fact, your condition may contribute to the dangers that you may face there, particularly from falls. The question then becomes is what should hospitals be doing in order to keep you from falling.
When people in New York City hear about lawsuits filed against hospitals, their first thoughts may be that such action is simply an attempted “cash grab” on the part of disgruntled patients. Most may accept the fact that doctors, nurses and other clinical personnel are human, and thus subject to mistakes. What may not be understood is that those looking to hold hospitals accountable for their errors through legal action have the same understanding. They may feel, however, that negligence rather than human errors were responsible for the pains they were subjected to. Their motivation for their actions may actually be to promote changes that may help ensure that others are not required to go through the same suffering they were forced to endure.
When you present to an ER in New York City, you likely do so only because you believe you need immediate care. In such a potentially stressful situation, it may be difficult to hear that you have to wait to be seen. Just how long should you expect to wait, and when should you start to be concerned to you may be getting overlooked?
Despite the reasons behind one being admitted to a hospital in Queens, most would likely say that while there, they feel relatively safe. Yet many of those that we at Futterman, Sirotkin, and Seinfeld, LLP have worked with have personally discovered that errors can happen even in a clinical setting. If you have ever had to stay in a hospital for an extended period of time, then you have likely noticed the constant changing of nurses and other providers that were assigned to care for you. It has been shown that it is during this transfer of care between providers that many hospital errors occur.
Given the high cost of healthcare, some in Queens may choose to avoid seeking medical treatment altogether. You may share this same attitude, especially if you do not have health insurance. Yet what if you are left with no choice? When an emergency situation arises and you need immediate treatment, are you expected to avoid seeking it simply because you are uninsured? Perhaps a better question is whether a hospital is allowed to refuse you emergency care if it fears you are unable to pay for your service.